The push for the playoffs is on, with three games left for all teams. With that, teams were not very active, with just one move discussed below and, as always, the rest of the moves are down below with some of the more significant ones highlighted in red.
A valuable member of the Rams’ special teams unit that has played very well this season, St. Louis has locked up their punter for many years to come.
Set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, Hekker signed a six-year contract extension worth $18 million with $9 million guaranteed. The average of $3 million per season makes him the eighth highest paid punter in the NFL. The guarantee of $9 million is the most for any specialist (kicker of punter) in history, by a solid $1 million.
After going undrafted in the 2012 NFL Draft out of Oregon State, the 24-year old made the Rams roster out of training camp and has held the punting job since then.
This season, he is averaging 45.5 yards per punt (16th in the league), 41.5 yards for net average (fifth), has 26 punts downed inside the 20 (second) and has the fifth-lowest return average at six yards.
In 2013, he led the NFL in net average by a wide margin. His net average of 44.2 yards was 1.8 yards more than the next best punter.
Pro Football Focus (PFF) has Hekker graded as the best punter in the league so far this season. In 2013, he graded as the second best punter and 2012 saw him ranked as the 15th best.
Perhaps the best passing punter in the NFL––he played quarterback in high school––he has completed many passes on fakes over the last few seasons. Head coach Jeff Fisher and special teams coach John Fassel love to run trick plays on special teams and Hekker allows them to execute these plays.
For his career, Hekker is 5-of-6 for 79 yards as a passer with one touchdown and a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
With Hekker set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, a contract extension was not necessarily needed. He would have easily returned, as restricted free agents almost never leave their teams. Also, the guarantee of $9 million is a lot for a punter––even if Hekker is one of the best in the league. In the end, the Rams are keeping a top tier punter who is a key component of their strong special teams unit.
As Rich Eisen says: Punters are people too!
The Arizona Cardinals cut RB Michael Bush.
The Arizona Cardinals cut TE Matt Mulligan.
The Arizona Cardinals sign RB Kerwynn Williams.
The Arizona Cardinals sign S Chris Clemons.
The Baltimore Ravens sign TE Phillip Supernaw.
The Baltimore Ravens sign CB Antoine Cason.
The Buffalo Bills sign WR Deonte Thompson.
The Buffalo Bills waive-injured WR Mike Williams.
The Carolina Panthers cut QB Matt Blanchard from injured reserve.
The Chicago Bears waive WR Chris Williams from injured reserve.
The Chicago Bears sign WR Josh Bellamy.
The Chicago Bears sign RB Montell Owens.
The Denver Broncos sign K Brandon McManus.
The Denver Broncos waive WR Isaiah Burse.
The Detroit Lions sign TE Kellen Davis.
The Detroit Lions release RB Montell Owens from injured reserve.
The Green Bay Packers sign DT Bruce Gaston.
The Houston Texans sign LB Jason Ankrah.
The Miami Dolphins sign LB Jake Knott.
The Minnesota Vikings sign S Ahmad Dixon.
The Minnesota Vikings sign OT Carter Bykowski.
The New England Patriots sign OL Marcus Cannon to a two-year contract extension.
The New Orleans Saints waive WR Joe Morgan.
The New Orleans Saints sign WR Seantavius Jones.
The New York Giants sign LB Paul Hazel.
The New York Giants waive DT Dominique Hamilton.
The Oakland Raiders sign TE Scott Simonson.
The Philadelphia Eagles cut CB Roc Carmichael.
The Philadelphia Eagles sign S Jerome Couplin.
The San Diego Chargers cut OL Jeff Baca.
The San Diego Chargers sign P Mat McBriar.
The Seattle Seahawks sign WR Chris Matthews.
The Seattle Seahawks sign DE David King.
The Seattle Seahawks cut LB Allen Bradford.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers sign LB Jason Williams.
The Tennessee Titans sign OT Jamon Meredith.
The Washington Redskins sign LB Gabe Miller.
The Washington Redskins waive WR Aldrick Robinson.
The Washington Redskins sign CB Kenny Okoro.
The Washington Redskins sign LB Ja’Gared Davis.
The Washington Redskins sign LB Trevardo Williams.
The Washington Redskins cut CB Greg Ducre.
The Washington Redskins cut LB Everette Brown.
The Washington Redskins cut LB Steve Beauharnais.
The Washington Redskins sign CB Justin Rogers.
The Washington Redskins sign RB Chris Thompson.