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Cory's Corner: Final Year For Mason Crosby?

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Cory's Corner: Final Year For Mason Crosby?

Could this really be the final year for Mason Crosby in Green Bay?

He’s in the final year of a $16.1 million deal he signed in 2016. He has a cap hit of $4.8 million this year, which is No. 2 among kickers behind just Robbie Gould’s $4.9 million in San Francisco. 

The rub is Crosby’s legacy. During his 12 years in Green Bay, Crosby has amassed an amazing resume. He is the Packers’ all-time leading scorer with 1,469 points. That’s 415 points better than second place Ryan Longwell. He has 34 made field goals from 50-plus yards, which is 17 more than Chris Jacke’s second place number. And for Packers’ kickers with at least 50 field goal attempts, Crosby has the No. 1 field goal percentage at 81.6. He was better than 85 percent four times in his career. 

So, why would the Packers even entertain parting ways with the franchise’s all-time leading scorer? Crosby turns 35 in September and has missed seven extra points in the last three years. That doesn’t seem like much, but in a league that is dripping with parity, two missed extra points a season could be the difference between a division title and missing the playoffs. 

Even if Crosby is willing to take a team friendly deal, I don’t see the Packers bringing him back. Of the top 10 kickers by field goal percentage last year, eight of them were under the age of 30. Crosby finished 24thin field goal percentage last year — right above Dallas rookie Brett Maher. 

Crosby was 24thin 2017 (78.9) and eighth in 2016 (86.7). Obviously, Crosby is hoping that he can get back to his 2016 form, and maybe squeeze out another solid contract. 

That’s a gamble the Packers cannot make right now. They have put their chips to the middle of the table with Aaron Rodgers. Now they need to double down and make sure that Rodgers has the best supporting cast around him to make another Super Bowl title run. 

Has Crosby been a solid ambassador for the team while playing remarkably well? Absolutely. However, it’s time for the Packers to make a tough decision based on wins and losses, not just on warm and fuzzy feelings. 

That’s why the Patriots have been consistently amazing since 2001. They are willing to drop people before their careers go south. That is like finding a needed in a haystack, not to mention, a large majority of the fan base would love to see Crosby hang around. 

It would be a tough decision, but this has to be Crosby’s final season. His numbers have been declining and he’s going get more and more soft tissue injuries. 

Crosby has meant a lot to the Green Bay fan base, but after this season, it’s time to move on. 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Coldworld's picture

Ultimately, given his age, the odds increase significantly that a decline will set in. It’s always hard to determine when that starts without the benefit of hindsight.

The other factor with Crosby is whether he merits his pay based upon recent performance. Based upon what he is earning one would expect him to clearly beat Ficken through camp. Should he not, I’d say it’s a legitimate question as to whether the time has come.

I believe we will be a better team this year, but that we will be improved again in 2020 due to maturing recent draft picks and improving depth. At some point we will need to make the jump. It may be better to do so sooner rather than later with how I perceive the team developing.

Savage57's picture

There are a few dynamics playing for and against a continuation of Mason's career as a Packer.

1) The guy has shown he's money in big-time pressure situations more often than not
2) He's pretty adept at dealing with weather
3) The Packers only need look south and consider what happened to the Bears when they decided to release Gould and improve their kicking game
4) He might reach the point where he says enough and just decides to get on with the next chapter
5) As his leg strength declines with age, maybe he'll get on a Mickelson-like regimen

In any case, if the Packers do decide to make a change, evaluate prospects in Green Bay in December, not July.

TheVOR's picture

Totally agree with all of that, except the notion that the leg strength declines with age. I'm thinking maybe after forty or something, but the dude is pretty much what he's been for the last 5 years minimum, and I don't see that as changing much.

Here's the truth, when Mason is "Done With GB" rather than vise-versa, there will be plenty of Dome teams interested in that veteran kicker, he could extend his career by another 5-6 years!

Always loved this draft pick and kicker, one of my all time favorite Kickers.

I'm a fan, hope they're not stupid enough to cut him loose for a guy who's never made an NFL game kick.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Number 3 is Crosby's biggest asset.

And it's is why teams value LS enough to keep a specialist, and why the ability to hold is an important consideration when constructing the roster.

EricinGB's picture

Kicking requires coordination between snapper and holder as well as kicker. The snap is very important as well as the timing and position of the hold. It is unfair to look as Crosby's performance alone. The Packers have got through a lot of change since losing Rob Davis as log snapper a few years ago. Davis had a unique skill of not only snapping the ball consistently to the exact spot, but the laces were facing forward when caught as well. It is quite possible that on balance, day to day, Crosby himself is every bit the kicker today that he was 10 years ago and the the consistency issues are not due to Crosby himself. Trust that the Packers will do what is best overall.

Madfan's picture

EricinGB, did you mean Brett Goode instead of Rob Davis? I believe you described Brett Goode's abilities more than Rob Davis' abilities.

All long snappers are taught to snap consistently to specific locations with the laces in the desired location. Another factor is speed of the snap.

Whether this is correct or not, I've read that GB tried to get their newly signed long snappers to change their speed -- more of less -- to accommodate Crosby. Changing speed is often a step towards disaster since it changes accuracy and lace location. Goode did not have above average speed, but very good consistency -- location and laces.

flackcatcher's picture

No. EricinGB is right. Rod Davis run as long snapper was very long, that kind of stability is valued by teams in today's league. Goode and the other long snappers have not been able to stay healthy since Davis retirement. This is one of the major failures in the latter half of the McCarthy era. (Ron Zook did more for the other side as ST coach than he did for the Packers. And that is all on McCarthy as HC) Frankly, the personal office did a crappy job in having and finding replacements for Goode after he was injured. Goode is one those guys who body cannot handle the punishment of the game. Just another issue Gute will have to deal with, as his team continues to rebuild the Packers.

Madfan's picture

I tried to find more on the skill levels of Davis and Goode.

Davis longevity stands out as he played 183 games, playing every game of the season all but one year, 1997. His snapping wasn't analyzed in the article I found, but his long-term excellence was mentioned.

In 2015 McGinn wrote an article on Goode where he mentioned Goode had not missed a game from 2008 to 2014. But he did miss some games that year that year after tearing his ACL. It appears Davis missed more games than Goode, but Davis had a slightly longer career. But we are looking at missing less than 10 games in careers spanning a decade.

Goode was cited by McGinn as never having a catastrophic bad snap on a punt. Goode was mentioned as always having the laces precise and the location on the money. Other stated Goode was a great short snapper. Cohen wrote similar things in a 2017 article. There was discussion of Good's velocity becoming slower, but Zook minimized the importance of velocity.

One thing that is clearly different is that Davis made a number of downfield tackles -- 25. Goode had 6 in his career.

I'd have to rate both Davis and Goode as above average long snappers.

PatrickGB's picture

I say let’s see how he does in TC before cutting him. And remember that he had new snapper and holder last season. Remember that letting players go “one year early” plan did not work well for Hayward, Hyde and Woodson. Besides, he also had MM and Zook as his coach’s. So let’s cut him some slack.

Coldworld's picture

Hayward and Hyde had nothing to do with age, so the year early aphorism does not apply.

Simple age will undermine Crosby at some point. It is impossible to know whether that has begun or he has been struggling with a new holder etc. At some point, however, time will catch up.

If he is clearly beaten in camp it will be by someone even newer to the holder and snapper. As to waiting till December, nice but effectively stating that we go on till he loses it. If a kicker struggles then one is looking on the street for whoever is available.

So should we milk it and see if Crosby is outplayed in camp? So far, it’s pretty even, but if Crosby were to fall off, for me the consideration is that I see team talent on an upward trend over the next two to three years. I don’t want to be dealing with an inexperienced kicker in the better years. If there is doubt do it now. That’s an if, not a statement that it is time.

nostradanus's picture

There comes a time when most players outlive their contract status with a team even though they are still good players. Unfortunately the Bears would snap him up in a second.
It may just be wishful thinking but I hope the Packers can extend him at a cap friendly deal for a couple more years and he retires a Packer.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Given his performances of the past he deserves a shot to continue as a Packer if his skills are not diminishing. There is plenty of blame to go around from last year. The lack of consistency does not solely rest on Crosby's shoulders. The snapper and holder are involved. If the timing and placement is off that can't be blamed on Crosby. He has performed well in pressure situations and holds some Packers records that exceed some of the great Packer kickers of the past. I hope he remains a Packer and can contribute to their success. He will certainly go into the Packer Hall of Fame once he does hang up his cleats and retires.

stockholder's picture

He had a terrible time in Detroit. The Packers are forced to Live and die with Crosby. So the answer to the Question is; The writing is on the wall. There is No way you can give him a contract extension. He has trouble on artificial turf. I'm assuming Crosby still wants to go out a winner. He has the players respect. But not the fans. He must not let this team down or he'll be toast.

sam1's picture

Crosby has the respect of BOTH as well as management!

Guam's picture

Interesting that the author selected the Patriots as an example for his "cut the placekicker" theme. Do you think the Pats would like a redo on Vinitieri after he moved on to the Colts and then beat the Pats several times?

Several other posters have correctly pointed out that Crosby was working with a new snapper and placeholder last year. If Crosby returns to form this year, he might be well worth a new deal as place kickers seem to last into the late 30s quite regularly.

murf7777's picture

Keep’em Danno....you need someone who can make that game winning 45 yd FG in mid December at Lambeau Field. Cosby has shown he is up to the task. As already stated let’s not go down the Bears path.

Lphill's picture

7 extra points in 3 seasons I think is a high number for something that should be automatic.

Starr57's picture

He had ONE bad game last year and missed at The end of The Arizona game to tie.

All you have to do is look at Chicago.

Crosby length isn't faltering.

The guy knows how to kick in bad weather!

The Packers would be smart to extend him this year.

Convert the 4.8mil into a signing bonus, sign him to a new 4 year contract.

That would have him with The Packers the same as Aaron.

Takes more than a Huge leg to be good in Green Bay.

Coldworld's picture

All of this is true, but it is also firmly rooted in the assumption of constant ability. That simply isn’t the case with humans as they age.

At some point he won’t be the Crosby of the year before. It’s not as simple as he was good so he will be again.

dobber's picture

So true. I like Crosby--more than LVTom and others around here, probably--and more for what he brings in the crappy weather. He's a mudder. Otherwise, he's only a better than average kicker whose career stats benefit from playing for years alongside a prolific offense. Got to figure where that value meets contract and where you can come out ahead with a few more dollars even if all you get is just an average kicker.

stockholder's picture

Jan Stenerud, Chester Marcol, Ryan Longwell. Nobody fears Crosby, especially in Detroit. The Packers will find another Kicker. Just like they've done in the past.

Samson's picture

Who's the viable replacement?
Would hate to see the Pack hold a silly kicking contest like da Bears. -- What an embarrassment.

Nick Perry's picture

But what riot for us Packers fans!!! The Bears still suck!

Qoojo's picture

The problem with finding replacement kickers in GB is that the tryouts are in August, and the issue is kicking Nov to Jan. Changing snappers and holders affects field goal kicks too. It's not always on the kicker.

Just remember the roller coaster that they were on until they got Crosby.

flackcatcher's picture

I know one should not take pleasure in watching someone suffering. But IT'S THE BEARS, THE BEARS MAN!!!!!! BONK BONK BONK........

Lare's picture

One thing about kicking, it has pretty obvious results- you with make it or you don't. Should be an interesting competition in training camp.

They should also have brought in another punter. JK Scott wasn't very impressive last season.

Coldworld's picture

Scott has youth and leg talent. He wasn’t dire. He wasn’t consistent but it is reasonable to expect improvement physically and mentally. I think he should improve this year. I agree he will have to to stay in the league longer term.

LambeauPlain's picture

If the O is better this year, especially in red zone and goal line, it will help Crosby’s stats I think.

He will kick fewer FGs as more TDs are scored....and he will attempt shorter, higher percentage kicks.

The only time he attempted more FGs than last year, 37, was in 2007....his rookie year (39).

vj_ostrowski's picture

Green Bay doesn’t hold on to players because of warm and fuzzy feelings. Basically have not done this at all in the Ted/Gute era. And it seems every year the reactionary part of the fan base complains about some 30+ year old player we’re letting walk, so I’m not sure why New England is always cited as the model for this, when Green Bay operates the exact same way.

Ryan B Dub's picture

It’s getting close to the right time for Mason Crosby to move to Minnesota. It’s been a great run. It’s just the older you get the more you need to either retire, or wear purple.

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