Yesterday, Dave Gettleman came to an agreement with the Cleveland Browns to swap punters in an earth-moving massive deal.
Well, for punters perhaps it is. The Panthers receive P Andy Lee from Cleveland and a 7th-round draft pick. The Browns get a 4th round pick and undrafted punter Kasey Kedfern as per NFL.com's reporting.
Lee was the guy you may have heard about who set an NFL record last season with a 46.7 gross average. Gross refers to the punt itself without the return and does not take into account the special teams ability of his team. Gross avg is a good measure of a punter's strength, but says nothing about his form, hang time, or accuracy with coffin-corner punts, however.
Lee, a 3-time Pro Bowler, got in Cleveland Head Coach Hue Jackson's doghouse last week by what the NFL.com's writer says was a "lackadaisical effort in chasing down a punt return that went for a 73 yard touchdown."
That alone was likely the catalyst for the trade, although getting a 4th-round pick in return isn't a bad deal for Cleveland, either. Jackson & Co have gone about building that franchise the right way, and frankly, I'm excited for their chances this upcoming season. Their fans deserve a winner at some point, and I'm hoping Jackson's regime can bring them some stability.
But this is a Panthers blog. As for shipping away a 4th-round pick for a punter, I'd usually say it's too high a price, but Ray Guy went in the first round. Someone in the same arena of ability at least should command something, and with the depth the Panthers have as a team, they can afford to ship what I figure is really the last pick of much consequence (4th round) in the draft to improve field position.
Basically, this helps keep scoring lower by the opposition. With a solid punter in-house as well as improvement in punt coverage, teams could be set back as much as an extra five to ten yards per punt. This gives the Panthers' defense that much extra real estate to make a play.
Special teams have been Carolina's bugaboo for years now, and Gettleman knows it. This is his way of pushing all his chips to the center of the felt & going all-in for the 2016 season.
It tells me he wants a ring, and he wants it now.
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