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Late For Work 7/16: Stephen Gostkowski Deal Sets Market For Justin Tucker


Gostkowski Deal Sets Market For Tucker

Other than Stephen Gostkowski and his family, perhaps no one is happier about the New England Patriots kicker's new contract than Justin Tucker.

Gostkowski became the highest-paid kicker in the NFL yesterday, signing a four-year deal reportedly worth $17.2 million, including a $6 million signing bonus.

It's not surprising that Tucker thinks it's well-deserved.

In part, because it *is *well-deserved. But probably also in part because Tucker is hoping to get his own "sick" contract within the next year or so.

Tucker has already completed the final year of his undrafted rookie free-agent contract (3 years, $1.44 million) and will play on a restricted tender (1 year, $2.36 million) this season if a new deal isn't struck before then.

The Ravens want to hold onto the man who is currently the most accurate kicker in NFL history. The two sides have been talking for more than a year, and now the Gostkowski deal gives the newest comparable and could set the table for Tucker's eventual contract.

"Gostkowski's deal would seem to set [the] market for the Ravens and Justin Tucker," wrote Russell Street Report's cap guru Brian McFarland. 

The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec believes Tucker is on his way to becoming the NFL’s highest-paid kicker (including more than $9 million guaranteed), which means Tucker will have to one-up Gostkowski's overall $17.2 million.

Tucker's agent has a good argument to make. His client became the second-fastest kicker in NFL history to reach the 400-point milestone, doing so in his 48th game. Tucker owns the NFL's second-most field goals (97) since entering the league in 2012. His only misses in 2014 came from beyond 50 yards.

Look at the field-goal percentages of the two kickers over the last three years (since Tucker entered the league in 2012):

Gostkowski2014: 94.6 percent
2013: 92.7 percent
2012: 82.9 percent
Career average (9 years): 86.8 percentTucker2014:*85.3 percent
92.7 percent
90.9 percent
Career average (3 years):
89.8 percent

"He has been a huge weapon and a tremendous bargain, but he won't come cheap for much longer," wrote Zrebiec. "The Ravens don't want to lose him and, at the very least, likely would place the franchise tag on the kicker next offseason before allowing him to become a true unrestricted free agent."

Bryant, Thomas EACH Paid As Much As ALL Ravens Receivers

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant and Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas made mind-boggling money yesterday. Each received 5-year, $70 million deals.

Never mind that the Ravens' highest-paid receiver, Steve Smith Sr., doesn't come close to either of those deals. Smith's reported three-year, $10.5 million deal isn't in the same ballpark, but that doesn't surprise anyone.

I looked at's contract breakdown for the highly-paid receiver from Dallas, and noticed that in 2015, Bryant's cap hit is almost as much as ALL Ravens receivers combined. Then I looked over at Thomas' breakdown, and his cap hit will be $5.6 million more in 2015 than ALL Ravens receivers.

That's one man taking up more cap room than 11 receivers combined.

The salary cap is a complicated, complicated beast and the calculations change with a 90-man roster because of the "Top 51" rule, but the Ravens' current receiver cap hit is below.

2015 Cap Hit Demaryius Thomas: $13.2 millionDez Bryant:$7 million
11 Ravens receivers: $7.6 million

The Ravens' $7.6 million invested in the receiving corps ranks No. 29 in the league.

I'm not comparing what Thomas or Bryant brings to the table versus Ravens receivers. Obviously, they're two of the best in the game. But it's interesting to see how Newsome invests his cap money, and it will be more interesting to see which team strategy pays off when it comes playoff time.

Forbes: Ravens Among World's Most Valuable Sports Teams

Forbes released its annual list of "The World's Most Valuable Sports Teams,"  and the Ravens came in at No. 24 with $1.5 billion.

That's $1.5 billion, with a "B."

That represents a one-year 22 percent increase for the franchise owned by Steve Bisciotti, per Forbes. The Ravens ranked 19th last year with a value of $1.227 billion.

"The Ravens' $100 average ticket price ranks eighth in the NFL, despite the team playing in the 21st biggest market," the website wrote. "Six playoff appearances in seven seasons keeps ticket demand high."

Even though the Ravens dipped in the rankings, they still remain the most valuable franchise in the division. The Pittsburgh Steelers were the only other AFC North team to make this year's list at No. 32.

Twenty of the top 51 most valuable teams are NFL franchises. The Ravens ranked 10th among NFL teams, which includes the Dallas Cowboys ($3.2 billion), New England Patriots ($2.6 billion), Washington Redskins ($2.4 billion), New York Giants ($2.1 billion), Houston Texans ($1.85 billion), New York Jets ($1.8 billion), Philadelphia Eagles ($1.75 billion), Chicago Bears ($1.7 billion) and San Francisco 49ers ($1.6 billion).

Real Madrid, a Spanish soccer team, leads the list for a third consecutive year with a value of $3.26 billion. 

S Jeromy Miles Joins Giants Instead Of Ravens

The New York Giants announced a one-year signing of veteran safety Jeromy Miles, who played for the Ravens the past two years.

"Miles had talks with the Ravens this offseason about returning and could have been re-signed, but didn't agree to terms and is now joining the Giants," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.

The Ravens brought Miles aboard in 2013 as a special-teams ace, but he ended up playing a lot on defense last season with injuries and poor play hurting the secondary. The Ravens added safety Kendrick Lewis to the defensive backfield this offseason.

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