A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how the Packers should do anything to acquire Shane Lechler. I didn’t realize at the time that Lechler is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. This is from the Oakland Tribune:
Lechler is on the verge of free agency unless the Raiders offer a contract extension that he accepts between now and the end of February. The Raiders all but tipped their hand on which way they are leaning in terms of applying the franchise tag designation by signing free agent punter Ricky Schmitt on Monday. Teams with four-time Pro Bowl punters don’t sign undrafted free agent punters without any NFL experience. That is, unless there’s a chance of losing the Pro Bowl punter. On Thursday, Raiders coach Tom Cable admitted as much, saying Schmitt was signed, in part, as a “just-in-case” insurance policy.
I like Jeremy Kapinos. He’s come in and punted well especially given the pressure he must have felt considering the collective anger Packer fans have developed re our punting situation this year. But the opportunity to acquire someone like Shane Lechler is one that needs to be taken very seriously. As the GM, I would give Lechler a ridiculous offer right away, maybe even something like 1.5x – 2x more than any other punter makes right now. He’s that good and winning the field position battle is a subtle part of the game that can really help out a defense (Oakland’s defense excepted of course because they are a sorry franchise).
I realize TT would probably rather get value with the darkhorse player he found – in this case Kapinos. But Lechler is special and TT should use some of that cap room to lock up the best punter in the game and one of the better punters to ever play.
(It’s funny, I almost wrote a similar post a few weeks ago about Asomugha, the gifted Oakland corner who is playing under the franchise designation this year. Though a quick glance at our defense would indicate corner is not really a need position – in the very near future, it will be as Harris and Woodson age. Asomugha is unreal – I read an article earlier this year about how teams work very hard to find ways to avoid throwing it in his direction…ever. He’s a guy who would immediately solidify one corner position for years and perhaps allow Woodson the opportunity to work at safety. All this written, I don’t know how much of a play I’d actually make for him – right now, I’d be more focused on picking up Lechler.)