Around the Pound (2/17): Over-Paying on Special Teams?

In today's edition of Around the Pound, we go back a few days to look back at Terry Pluto's weekly column and consider how much money should be thrown toward a special teams player.

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Janikowski is League's Richest Kicker

After all of the talk regarding Joshua Cribbs and his now inevitable pay increase as an outstanding special teams player, what is the bar for other special teams players, such as kickers?

The Oakland Raiders have resigned Sebastian Janikowski to the richest contract given to a National Football League kicker ... [he] agreed to a four-year deal worth $16 million.

That's a lot of dough for a kicker. It's not as if the Raiders threw money at a scrub kicker -- after all, Janikowski is practically coming off of a career year in which he made 26-of-29 attempts, including a 61-yarder against the Browns. As we saw by the low success rate of kickers in the postseason this year, having a reliable kicker is important. Has Janikowski really been pressure-tested enough to warrant such a contract? After so many losing seasons, aren't there other areas the Raiders should be focusing on?

The difference with Cribbs is that you can find way more manageable kickers than you can record-breaking kick returners who set your offense up with the best starting field position in football every possession. And, he can also play a little bit in the Wildcat formation. Hopefully the team moves forward with increasing Cribbs' reps next season.

Considering Torry Holt

In Terry Pluto's Sunday column back on Valentines Day, he suggested the Browns show some love in free agency to former Rams and soon-to-be former Jaguars receiver Torry Holt.

Holt is one of many notable veterans expected to be cut in the next few weeks as Jacksonville is in a rebuilding mode. After cutting Holt and two other veterans, General Manager Gene Smith said Holt was "a player-coach for us this past year in the way he mentored our inexperienced receiving group." The Browns desperately need that with Mohamed Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Chansi Stuckey and Josh Cribbs being the only returning receivers. Mike Furrey is a veteran, but he played more safety than receiver near the end of the season.

Furrey obviously didn't work out nearly as well at the receiver position last year as we had hoped, but this unit could really benefit from a veteran receiver still (which is another receiver I remained surprised the team never re-signed David Patten at some point last year). Holt fits the bill, and I can't see him requiring too large of a contract.

Looking at the New GM's

John Czarnecki looks over the teams with new general managers this season. Like most people, he isn't fond of the team's situation at quarterback. Now, if only Czarnecki could get Jerome Harrison's name correct (he listed him as James).

Outlook: Lerner will give Holmgren three years to be a Super Bowl contender before looking for another big-name president.

Chris Palmer Finds New Work

Chris Palmer, a former Southern Connecticut State University standout and veteran coach, has been selected as the head coach and general manager of the Hartford franchise in the United Football League. Palmer joins the organization after serving as the quarterbacks coach with the New York Giants, a stint that included a Super Bowl Championship. Palmer has also previously served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns during a distinguished coaching career.

Off-Beat Notes

  • I'll agree -- in comparison to "What Kate Does," "The Substitute" blew that episode away. That was an instant classic episode of LOST last night, and while it might be difficult to top it this season, I think all of the big reveals that are coming will match this episode's quality. "Weirdest damn funeral I've ever been to."
  • There are more rumors circulating on Batman 3. The early rumors are that the Riddler will be the primary villain, with cameos from many other villains and allies as well.
  • If you'd like to see your own off-beat topics listed in this section to spark some off-topic talks, send me an email at pokorny@pfcritics.com and I'll try to work your blurb in.
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