Walter Football has been taking a look at each of the free agent signings this offseason and giving them a grade. While Ravens fans are excited about punter Sam Koch remaining a Raven, WF is decidedly less so.
With a C+ grade, the extension passes but just barely.
Ozzie Newsome is the top general manager in the NFL, but I can't get behind anyone giving this much money to a punter. Players at that position can be signed off the street, so using high draft picks and giving them a big contract doesn't make much sense.
While the writer is correct that punters are not exactly a rare commodity, we aren't talking about some scrub that the Ravens picked up from some local college. We are talking about Sam Koch, one of the most consistent and best punters in the league since he was selected in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL Draft.
A career average of 45 yards per punt, he led the NFL in punts downed inside the 10-yard line in 2010. His ability to keep the Ravens playing the field position game every Sunday is a major factor into the contract that the Ravens gave him. It helped the Ravens get to and win a Super Bowl and it has allowed quarterback Joe Flacco to not have to take too many risks for the sake of driving down the field. In 2014 alone, Koch was the 15th best punter with 26 punts inside the 20-yard line, while having the sixth fewest punts from active punters.
This also doesn't make any mention of how much Sam Koch means to kicker Justin Tucker as a holder. Hell, Koch has more touchdowns than some first round offensive picks in the history of football.
Despite the criticism on general manager Ozzie Newsome for paying Koch that well, the writer then goes a little further to praise the team for doing it.
Having said that, if you're going to give a punter a 5-year, $18.75 million deal, it might as well be the best one. Sam Koch finished No. 1 in net punting this past season and did well in terms of placing attempts inside the opposing 20. He turns 33 in August, so he should continue to be effective.
Maybe that explains the C+ grade for the extension. They dislike punters but believe that the Ravens did the right thing in giving Koch the extension to keep him in town for quite a few more years.