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Published on 06/15/2012 at Fri Jun 15 09:04.
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We noted yesterday that disgruntled Broncos kicker Matt Prater would likely show up by July 26th.  Today, we learned that Prater will have to sign by July 16th.

Prater skipped all of the team’s offseason OTAs and minicamp practice sessions in protest of the one-year $2.654 million franchise tag the team placed on him earlier in the year.

Reportedly, Prater and the Broncos have been negotiating a five-year contract during Prater’s holdout and they’re “not far apart” in reaching a deal, according to The Denver Post‘s Mike Klis.

“Prater and the Broncos have until July 16 to reach an agreement on a multi-year deal.  Absent a long-term deal by July 16, Prater would have to play the 2012 season on the $2.654 million franchise tag.”

Per Klis, the Broncos latest offer would pay Prater $3 million annually (presumably a five-year, $15 million deal).  Eight kickers in the NFL are paid $3 million or more a year, with Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski being the highest-paid kicker in the league, earning $4 million annually.

“We’re having discussions, and I’m sure he’ll be here on time,”  Head Coach John Fox said on Thursday afternoon.  “(The contract’s) not done yet.”

The Broncos will get together as a team again on July 25th.  Prater will likely be present, but if he isn’t, there’s always Adi Kunalic.

If I’m not mistaken, Prater will be forced to sign his one-year tender if he doesn’t agree to a new deal by July 16th or holdout for the entire year.  I’d go with signing a new deal.

  • Big_Pete

    I can’t remember the exact stipulation in the new CBA, so I can only comment on what I wish was the case, and leave it for someone who knows the ins and outs to comment/correct/affirm….

    Personally, I think that this July 16th deadline should be set in stone in the CBA where if the player doesn’t sign the franchise tag, or have new deal worked out and signed, then they are automatically held out without pay for the entire season IF and only IF they actually hold out.

    Example: Prater’s case…
    Prater wants to be paid who knows what… threatens holdout if he isn’t.
    whether the Broncos tag him or not, if Prater holds out at any point after July 16th deadline, he’s lost for the entire season, and doesn’t get that year counted against his contract meaning that next year, he is still a restricted free agent, so he’s in the same situation.

    I don’t think this would hurt anybody in any way. I don’t think this gives the franchise any leverage, and it also takes away the extreme strong arm tactics of the player. How can I say this? Because, a team will not want to go into the season without a highly coveted player. All this will do is speed up the negotiation process instead of having it linger through training camp and the preseason.

    Think about it, the Broncos have a “we will never under any circumstance go above $X” and Prater or more appropriately his agent has a “we will never under any circumstance go below $X.”… well, at some point, there will be a middle area (think of a venn diagram with the overlap being where the negotiations lie).

    In today’s world, Prater could hold out through training camp, which causes an unnecessary distraction to the team. Eventually, he will either sign the tender, or get the contract. The only difference is that if you make a hard “do it by this date, or you’re done for the season” deadline, then the deal that will eventually get worked out will get worked out before training camp and thus, take away the negative distractions. The pressure by both the team and player to get a deal done will only expedite the process. The team wont strong arm the player for fear that they’ll lose a coveted player for the year, and the player won’t strong arm the team because he knows that he’s done for the year if he does. Its a win/win.

    I’m practically 100% positive that this isn’t in the CBA as the players would hate to have a set in stone date, but it freaking should be! I think the owners as well as players have forgotten that they are paid millions to play a game in front of fans. When players hold out, or owners try to low ball the players, it’s the fans that get hurt. Well, without fans, there is not NFL. Without fans, there is no revenue. Without revenue, there is no paycheck for players, no revenue for stadiums, and no revenue for owners/employees to take in as income. Are these 2 sides really that disconnected with the general population that they can’t see this?

  • herc_rock

    A not-so-subtle hint at which side you fall on there, huh?

  • Tim Lynch

    lol, isn’t that Prater’s mug shot from a few years ago?

  • Tim Lynch

    Honestly, I think the NFL won a lot of concessions from the NFLPA with this new CBA. Enough so that I feel both sides are on more even ground. Holding out is distasteful to us fans, but if Prater thinks he is worth X amount of dollars, then that is his decision.

    Here’s a question Elway should ask himself. How many games would the Broncos have won last year without Prater’s clutch kicking? Two 50+ yard game winners I can think of right off the bat, not to mention a 59 yard game tying kick…

    I actually think he is worth paying a few dollars more than the current highest paid kicker in the league.

  • Monty

    Creepy mugshot is creepy.

  • herc_rock

    A guy doesn’t have to hold out for the entire year if the July 16 deadline passes.
    If it passes, he can either sign his tender or keep holding out, but there’s nothing prohibiting him from signing the tender after July 16.

  • herc_rock

    I don’t think he’s worth Janikowski money, but he’s certainly one of the top 8 kickers in the league. $3M is a legit number, maybe a little higher.

  • Monty

    The Broncos still have two rookies to sign too. Front office can’t go on vacation yet.

  • Monty

    I changed it. Too weird and out of context.

  • Monty

    I wonder if he gets fined for missing mandatory training camp. I assumed he would, but on second thought, could be same situation as mini-camp. He’s technically not signed to a contract, so Broncos can’t fine him.

  • Big_Pete

    I totally agree! I posted one one of the earlier Prater articles that in this “quarterback driven league”, it is still the elite kicker that wins/loses more games than the QB, and therefor should be paid accordingly (although not as high as a QB). I personally think $3mm is plenty if not perfect. Considering that $3mm is more than the franchise number, it would guarantee that Prater is one of the top paid kickers in the league. I’m not sure why Prater wouldn’t be signing it. I’m hoping that it’s just guarantees, length, or something minor that is holding this process up.

    We saw 1st hand last year that having an elite kicker is important. How many games do we win without Prater? My guess is “not many”…. Yes, we love that we won so many games once Tebow came in, but man, those games were hard to watch and often times quite boring. Off the top of my head, without Prater, we lose at a minimum of 3 more games, which would have given us a losing record. Who knows how many more we lose because a different kicker might have missed fgs during the game (if we even got on that half of the field before the 4th quarter to attempt a fg). Either way, Prater was instrumental in just as many wins as you-know-who was. I think that even with Manning here, Prater will have an impact. Its the reason why every year, the highest scoring player on every team is the kicker.

    While I know that they will never be paid up to their true worth because they only touch the ball a few times a game, elite kickers, of whom I consider Prater to be, do deserve more money than they historically received. With the rookie cap freeing up money to sign vets, I think it’s logical to pay them a little more.

  • Jon

    My bad, Klis led me to believe otherwise.

  • TheTroglodyte

    haha no kicker is worth Janikowski money, especially Janikowski.

  • herc_rock

    Yeah, he’s a ham-fisted hack.

  • Jon

    August, but Kyle took it down.