About a week before the free-agent signing period begins, the Green Bay Packers kicked one player off of their must-sign list by inking Mason Crosby on Tuesday.
According to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky, Crosby and the Packers agreed to a four-year deal worth $16.1 million. The deal includes a $5 million signing bonus.
“I’ve been off the grid for the afternoon. I am so happy to be back with the Packers, thank you for all the love,” Crosby said on Twitter.
After the season, Crosby said he wanted to remain with the Packers. The Packers just did that. Along with the in-season extension of MIke Daniels, GM Ted Thompson has taken care of his biggest priorities.
“Obviously, nine years, this has become home for me and my family and this is the team I want to play for, and I hope we can get something done so I can continue on and continue to be part of this organization,” Crosby said after the playoff loss to Arizona. “I don’t know if I can go anywhere else that there’s the opportunities that are presented here. The teammates, the friendships, the relationships I have in this locker room. It’s kind of weird to think about being anywhere else.”
After a miserable 2012 season in which Crosby had to swallow a pay cut and fend off a couple of challengers, he’s responded with back-to-back-back strong seasons. He hit 89.2 percent of his attempts in 2013, 81.8 percent in 2014 and 85.7 percent in 2015. This past season, Crosby tied for 16th in field-goal accuracy and was one of five full-time kickers who didn't miss an extra point from the new distance.
What’s impressive is that Crosby has done that at Lambeau Field, where the weather can be frightful, rather than in a dome. That’s why it was imperative to get Crosby signed rather than take a chance on a rookie or a free agent.
“Well, I think Number 1, you can find a guy that can kick the football through them steel poles,” special teams coordinator Ron Zook said at the end of the season. “But how they're going to handle this environment? How they're going to handle pressure situations? That's something, particularly a young guy, you don't know until he's put in that situation. How does he handles those kind of situations? How does he handle when he misses one? All those kind of things. But I think what Mason has done, in talking him today, I said 'Whatever you did in preparation last year, you need to do exactly the same thing.' Because when he does have an issue — and he really didn't have issues, but we'll talk about and he'll tell me 'This is what happened, this is what happened.' He knows exactly what happened, he knows exactly what he needs to do to fix it and he does it, and I think that's the thing — he's got a lot of confidence and he knows he can do what he has to do.”
With an average salary of $4.025 million, Crosby is the third-highest-paid kicker in the league behind Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, who received the franchise tag of $4.572 million this week, and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski, who averages $4.186 million.
The Packers entered the day about $22.1 million below the $155.27 million salary cap, according to OverTheCap.com. While details of Crosby’s deal weren’t available, they’ll surely be left with less than $20 million of cap space to re-sign their free agents, strike deals elsewhere and to sign their draft class.