INDIANAPOLIS -- Punter Pat McAfee is Friday's Free Agent watch.
2013 stats: 76 punts, 3,499 yards, 46.0 avg, 38.5 net, 65 yards long, 27 punts inside the 20
McAfee signed a one-year, $2.977-million franchise tag last offseason. His salary was third in the league for punters behind Tampa Bay's Michael Koenen ($3.25 million) and San Diego's Mike Scifres ($3.0 million) this season. McAfee's numbers decreased from the 2012 season. He was 11th in the league average and only 25th in the league in net average.
“Last year, I didn't hit the market obviously,” McAfee said. “Who knows what's going to happen this year? I've seen a lot of guys sign a lot of very big contracts that are punters that don't do as much as I do. They don't kick off. They don't do anything else really. I've never wanted to be the highest-paid guy. I come from very humble beginnings. It's not that I need a lot of money. But respect is always the biggest thing. I think that's kind of a big deal. As long as it's all done in the right manner, I've never looked to be the highest-paid man ever.”
McAfee has come a long way in his career. He's gone from being known as the punter arrested for public intoxication and swimming in a canal in Indianapolis, to a fan favorite in the city, to laying out players (just ask Denver's Trindon Holliday) on kickoffs and punts, to even having his own weekly online show.
Indianapolis has embraced McAfee and McAfee has embraced the team and city back.
“I don't know what other city has really taken in their punter more than Indianapolis,” he said. “I'm forever indebted to this city and to the people that have taken me in. That's just kind of the way it is. I love being here. In my rookie offseason, I would travel everywhere. Now, I'm just kind of excited to stick around here and hang out with the people here. The city of Indianapolis has so much to offer. I don't really see the need to go anywhere else. But we'll see what happens obviously as business commences.”
Prediction: I see McAfee returning to the Colts because he offers a lot more than just punts and kickoffs for the Colts. Don't expect him to be the highest-paid punter next season, though. His statistics this season don't warrant that type of pay raise.