Ever since Super Bowl XLVII, Ravens punter Sam Koch's performance has been dwindling. Add in the fact that he's slated to make $2.2 million in base salary this season, some could figure him to be a disposable member of the Ravens roster if the money could be better used elsewhere.
I must admit, criticizing Koch seems unfair because he's been a silent MVP for the Ravens for the majority of his eight seasons in Baltimore. While I do believe Koch needs to rebound this season, I believe he's worth every single penny he's set to earn this season.
There's an invaluable piece about Koch and it seems ridiculous to even speak about this, but Koch is a member of the Wolfpack, and around the Ravens locker room, that means something.
Cornhole skills aside, Koch is highly respected and perhaps mostly by his Wolfpack brethren long-snapper Morgan Cox and kicker Justin Tucker. For the mere fact that kicking is the most mental position in all of football, Tucker's daily routines must not change if he expects to duplicate his Pro Bowl 2013 season, and Koch is a big part of that.
For the third time in Koch's career and the first time since 2011, Koch has competition in training camp. The Ravens signed rookie undrafted free agent Richie Leone out of Houston to at least offer some competition during the offseason.
Last season, each of the Wolfpack's (specialists) jobs were safe, so no competition was brought into camp. However, the Ravens do need to do their due diligence to provide competition for Koch, even if it's just to push him harder to have a rebound year.
Koch, Tucker and Cox may be the three best friends that anyone could have, and for that point alone Koch is worth keeping around. He's still an above-average kicker and even though he may be "overpaid," Tucker is currently drastically underpaid.
No one expects Leone to beat out Koch for the job but the most interesting storyline will come next season when Tucker's bank account is expected to explode. Unless Tucker takes less to keep Koch around, Tucker's fortunes (literally and figuratively) could mean that Koch is elsewhere after this season.