The Falcons have plenty of money to chase free agents, but they’ve also prioritized a few of their own. As we’ve expected all along, punter Bradley Pinion is one of those.
The veteran came in and stabilized a shaky position for Atlanta in 2022, quietly turning in a quality season on both kickoffs and as a punter, and he was especially good late last year at pinning opposing offenses deep in their own territory and giving them a long way to go in order to score. For that, the Falcons are rewarding him with a multi-year deal that will make him one of the highest-paid punters in football.
The #Falcons agreed to terms with punter Bradley Pinion on a three-year, $8.65 million deal that puts him among the NFL’s top eight highest-paid at the position, per source. Pinion gets $4.325M guaranteed, including $3.5M this year, to stay in Atlanta.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 13, 2023
There is year-to-year variance in punter performance that makes it risky to give all but the most elite ones multi-year deals, but Pinion’s 2022 statistics were in line with the high end of his career averages, making him a seemingly solid bet to continue to play well. The fact that he handles kickoss and punts, freeing up Younghoe Koo to focus purely on field goals, extra points, and the rare onside kicks he excels at, is an added bonus, and Pinion is good there as well.
For his career, Pinion averages 43.9 yards per punt (45.9 in 2022) and has drops punts inside the 20 34.8% of the time (37.1% in 2022), and averages 64.5 yards per kickoff (64.3 in 2022). Those numbers tend to put him in the middle of the pack in the NFL, and he was in the upper half of the league in most metrics in 2022.
The Falcons are fresh off a season where they had one of the more impressive special teams units in football, a testament to Marquice Williams’ coaching, but they clearly are prioritizing keeping around key pieces that made that performance possible after also locking up special teams cog Keith Smith. Hopefully Pinion will once again be a force for good in 2023, and we welcome him back to the Falcons.