If your last name is Colquitt, you are good. You are also expensive, relatively speaking.
Britton Colquitt and Dustin Colquitt are two of the best punters in the National Football League. The statistics and the contracts of both bear this out, given that the brothers are top two paid punters in the league, in terms of annual salary. Britton, the younger brother and punter for the Denver Broncos, averages $3.892 million in his current deal, which ends in 2016. Dustin, the older brother and member of the Kansas City Chiefs, averages $3.75 million on a deal that runs one year longer.
With so much talk about finances this time of year and who the Chiefs can or cannot afford it's interesting that the specialists on this team are always passed over without mention. Cairo Santos is in the midst of a rookie deal, so it's understood why no one would think twice about Cairo's place on the team, statistically or financially. But Colquitt? We should at least have this conversation.
I would never in any way propose that the Chiefs should get rid of Colquitt. The Chiefs are built to win with defense and special teams. They have an exemplary special teams coach in Dave Toub, and if I'm John Dorsey, I want to make sure Toub is happy. Give him whatever he needs to work his magic. And Colquitt is definitely part of that magic.
Even at 33, Colquitt remains one of the NFL's best punters who gave the team another incredible performance in 2015. His lone Pro Bowl appearance came in 2012, but Colquitt deserves a few more feathers in that cap. Colquitt was third in the NFL in punts inside the 20-yard line with 37, just behind Johnny Hekker of the Rams and Marquette King of the Raiders. Colquitt was also ranked No. 8 in net yards/punt at (40.8), and No. 5 in return yards allowed. In short, the team's overall unit performance when punting was very good.
All that said, there is at least a financial aspect to this that warrants discussion. Colquitt's cap hit sits at $4.45 million in 2016 and $4.9 million in 2017. In fact it brings up a similar situation that played out just last season. The San Francisco 49ers had a great punter in Andy Lee already under contract, and had even signed him to a six-year extension in 2012. Last year, the team traded Lee, who had a cap hit of $2.4 million at that time, to the Cleveland Browns for a seventh round draft selection. The team then drafted Clemson rookie punter Bradley Minion in the fifth round.
Lee was a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and certainly the Niners were a poor team last year. But financially, they traded a guy making nearly half of what Colquitt pulls in for a rookie whose combined salary over four years equals the exact same price: $2.4 million. That's a serious difference.
I'm a firm believer in giving Toub the tools he needs to do his job, and Dustin Colquitt is a proven product. Because of this, I would never suggest the Chiefs move on from Colquitt until his performance on the field is lacking. Plus it should be noted that he's been with Kansas City since he was drafted in 2005. The entire core of the current roster features a lot of great players who could go down among all-time greats for the franchise, Colquitt included. But you can't have this conversation apart from the monetary impact.
If the Chiefs had a player on the draft board that they liked, it would be lead to an interesting war room discussion. The rookie would cost $450K or so his first year, one tenth, I'll say it again, one tenth of what Colquitt will pull in this year (and even more next year). Is there a point at which a veteran punter becomes cost prohibitive?
At the very least, it's a discussion worth having.