The way Mason Crosby’s contract was restructured in late August showed just how shaky his future was with the Packers at the time.
The Packers kicker accepted a cut in his base salary from $2.4 million all the way down to $800,000 in guaranteed money with the possibility to make all of it back in bonuses.
A little over a month later, and Crosby is on solid footing, on track to begin earning some of his bonus money back from the organization and on track with his kicking too.
Crosby will receive a $400,000 for simply being on the team’s 46-man roster for the Packers’ fifth game of the season this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens, according to USA Today, an all-but-guaranteed inevitability given the way he’s performed so far this season.
Through the team’s first four games, Crosby is a perfect nine-for-nine on field goals and perfect on all 13 of his extra-point attempts too. He’s one of only three kickers who’s averaging at least 10 points per game, and one of eight NFL kickers who has yet to miss a field goal yet this year.
Dating back to last season, Crosby has now converted on his last 15 field goals, including the playoffs, and the last 21 if you include the preseason.
This follows up on a season in which he connected on only 21 of 33 field goals in 2012, for an league-low 63.6 percent.
“I feel very confident,” Crosby said on Wednesday. “I put in the work this offseason, made sure that I did my things right, and I moved on. I moved on from bad stuff. I’ve moved onto the good stuff and made sure that I had a short memory, kind of carried all the positive things. My mindset’s very positive right now.”
Last Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions was one of the best of Crosby’s career, having gone five-for-five on field goal attempts, including one from 52 yards and two more from 40-plus.
For his efforts, Crosby was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week on Tuesday, the fifth time in his career he’s been the recipient of such recognition.
“It’s definitely an honor to get this award and help our team win the game and go five-for-five,” said Crosby. “I’ve never been five-for-five in a game, so for me it was a special day. It was awesome to be able to come in today and see that I got the Special Teams Player of the Week for the NFC.
“I guess my goal now is just to continue with that success and continue to work hard. I had a great day of work today here and then make sure to continue to carry that over into our game this next week.”
Crosby can earn another $400,000 if he’s on the team’s game-day roster for their 10th game of the season Nov. 17 against the New York Giants, which would appear to be a good bet consider the pace he’s on.
He’s also earn an extra $200,000 at season’s end if he makes at least 75 percent of his field-goal attempts, another $200,000 by making 80 percent and $400,000 if he makes 85 percent.
Perhaps part of the reason Crosby has been so good this season is that he’s been able to concentrate on his place kicks while Tim Masthay has handled kickoffs.
“I’m just diving into my work on field goals right now,” said Crosby. “I’ve obviously kicked off my whole career and everything, and I’ve had good seasons with that. But I’m just taking it for what it is, and that I can really focus on field goals and make sure that I’m sharp every day and keep my rhythm and my tempo smooth and go out there and make kicks.”
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book “It’s Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America,” and editor of Cheesehead TV’s “Pro Football Draft Preview.” To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.