GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For the first time since 2007, Mason Crosby faced the pressure of competition from another kicker in training camp.
Now, if he makes the Green Bay Packers’ roster, he’ll face a different kind of pressure this season: a financial one.
Crosby agreed to a pay cut, the full details of which are here, with the stipulation that he can earn back the money based on performance. Crosby was scheduled to make a base salary of $2.4 million this season, and his new salary will be $800,000, which will be fully guaranteed if he is on the team on Sept. 7, the eve of the regular-season opener at San Francisco. Crosby can make up the remaining $1.6 million through roster bonuses and incentives.
Half of that $1.6 million is tied to Crosby's field goal percentage this season, meaning there will be money on the line every time Crosby lines up for a field goal.
Although it likely means Crosby will be the Packers' opening day kicker, by getting him to restructure, the Packers are protecting themselves financially in case they decide to release him during the season. As a vested veteran, Crosby would have been entitled to receive his full pay of $2.4 million if the Packers released him at any point during the season.
Crosby is in the third year of a five-year, $14.75 million contract he signed on July 29, 2011. That deal contained a $3 million signing bonus. The remaining two years of Crosby’s contract were unchanged. He is scheduled to make base salaries of $2.65 million in 2014 and $2.8 million in 2015.
The seventh-year kicker, who made an NFL-low 63.6 percent of his field goals last season, went head-to-head with Giorgio Tavecchio in training camp. Tavecchio was released on Monday after the Packers brought in another kicker, Zach Ramirez. But Ramirez was released on Tuesday. It was the first time since Crosby's rookie season that the Packers had two kickers in camp.
After a rough start in which Crosby missed 5 of 8 field goals during the team's annual scrimmage, he has bounced back. Crosby has made all four of his field goals during preseason games this year. During two days of intense kicking in practice this past week, Crosby made 23 of 25 field goals.