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February 20, 2013 @ 12:46 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Signing Of Henry Will Put Pressure On Koenen

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Most assumed when the Buccaneers added former Gators and Eagles punter Chas Henry earlier this month, it was merely a formality of bringing another leg for training camp. And while that still may prove to be the case, when looking at the numbers you have to consider the money that could be saved if Henry wins the job.
While not many fans are too concerned about the punting and kickoff duties – instead more focused on improving the defense – the signing of punter Chas Henry may be more than just an extra leg during training camp.

The Buccaneers have not publicly (or privately) said that they are unhappy with Koenen, but with a cap hit of $3.25 million this season, they very well may be exploring options.

Koenen signed with the Buccaneers prior to the 2011 season as general manager Mark Dominik was able to pry the Washington native from Atlanta to Tampa Bay with a six-year, $19.5 million free-agent contract. Many scoffed initially as Koenen was basically the only significant free agent signing the season following the lockout.

But Koenen paid dividends right out of the gate, becoming a dependable punter while also handling the kickoff duties, along with being the holder for placekicker Connor Barth who had a franchise record-setting season in 2011.

In 2012 Koenen led the NFL in kickoff touchback percentage, but was also 30th in net punting average. Tampa Bay has already paid Koenen $6.5 million in guaranteed money and can cut Koenen now through the end of his contract (2016) without any salary cap penalties.

University of Florida fans remember Henry fondly as the former Gator handled Florida's punting duties during his four years in Gainesville, peaking as a senior in 2010 when he averaged 45.1 yards on 50 kicks and downed 18 inside the 20 versus just three touchbacks.  He was also forced into placekicking duties for a portion of the 2010 season, making 28 of 29 extra point tries and seven of 11 field goal attempts, including a game-winning overtime 37-yarder against Georgia.

Henry signed with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent in April of 2011.  He won the team's punting job as a rookie and averaged 42.9 yards on 66 kicks, with a net average of 36.9.  He also handled the punting chores for the first three games of 2012, averaging 48.5 yards per kick with a net of 38.3 and like Koenen, Henry can also hold on placekicking duties.

Could the Buccaneers be considering a legitimate punting competition, or was Henry brought in, as was placekicker Kai Forbath last season, to make Koenen better through competition?

Koenen is one of the nicest guys inside the locker room, a family man, a man of faith, and a mature husband and father that provides a great example to the younger players. Koenen fits in to what head coach Greg Schiano like to call “Buccaneer Men.”

But as we all know, the NFL is a business and you can’t field a team solely based on nice guys. While the Buccaneers are far from having salary cap issues at this point, the question this offseason will be is the money best served being spent elsewhere?

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 23:23

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  • avatar

    This article had me on the edge of my seat
  • avatar

    I miss Dave Green. It sure is a slow news day if were down to discussing punters. My daughter once dated former punter Tommy Barnhardt. Before introducing us at dinner she asked that I not talk about football. I agreed that I would pretend to know nothing about the game (not all that hard). I asked Tommy what he did for a living (then with the Redskins). He proudly said he was a NFL player to which I replied, "Oh, I thought you were only a punter." We talked football the whole night. It was great. Daughter wasn't happy.
  • avatar

    Koenen might be the most overpaid player in football. I was happy to get him when we did but shocked at the amount we paid to do so. He just isn't that good. Even the punts he does manage to get inside the 20 are far from the goalline. It struck me this past season that it looks like he consistently aims for the 10 yard line, and gets it there too. It's a low-risk, limited-reward approach to punting. He rarely kicks into the end zone but also rarely if ever puts pressure on opposing offenses by forcing them to work out of their own end zones. $3 million+ for this guy or any punter whose last name isn't Guy, Lechler, or Scifres is way, WAY too much. I don't hate Koenen, though. I think we could use any solid performance from the new kid as leverage to encourage Koenen to take a drastic pay cut. I also wouldn't ind us rolling with Henry if he can do the job well. Either way, I feel good in predicting that Koenen won't be punting for us in 2013 for $3.25 million. And if he is, then shame on us for letting it happen.
  • avatar

    Let's keep both kickers.
  • avatar

    Henry can sing?
  • avatar

    The NFL has changed the game so much that kickoffs should reach the end zone with an average kicker. The return on a kickoff now are few and far between. To pay so miuch money for a kicker is a waste of salary cap money that we could use for maybe a guy like CB like Revis. IMO keep Henry and use the money for other needs. Let Barth handle the kickoffs.
  • avatar

    Koenen was 21st in gross punting, tied for 22nd in punts downed inside the 20 and 23rd in average return allowed, so it was all below average. Henry hasn't kicked off in his NFL career as far as I can tell, so that obviously leans toward Koenen. Still, if this competition ends up close, we could see a new Bucs punter because of that cap hit that Mark mentions. I don't post here often, so I'm not sure how PR feels about links in comments, but I just found this site recently and I really love it. Lots of details about contracts, and as you can see Koenen's cap hit is incredibly high for a punter: http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/tampa-bay-buccaneers/cap-hit/
  • avatar

    Jonrd, welcome to the site.
  • avatar

    Mark: You state "In 2012 Koenen led the NFL in kickoff touchback percentage, but was also 30th in net punting average." Wondering if much of that "net" is due to poor coverage. I'd put more of a premium on touchbacks which make a team start deep in their own territory. You made no mention of touchbacks for Henry...did he not kick-off for the Eagles or Florida; and why was he the Eagles punter only for the first three games? I don't know much about kickers (as you can tell!).
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