Keeping Hauschka is big for the Seahawks

Re-signing a kicker may not seem like big news to some fans, but keeping Steven Hauschka was a move the Seattle Seahawks had to make.

Hauschka has blossomed into one the best kickers in the NFL. He agreed to a three-year deal Monday worth $9.1 million, including $3.3 million in guaranteed money. And he's worth every cent of it.

Other than the deal to keep defensive end Michael Bennett, this is the most significant move the Seahawks have made in free agency.

Hauschka, 28, made 33 of 35 field goals he attempted in the 2013 regular season, and one of those misses was a block at Indianapolis that wasn't his fault. He also was 5 for 5 in field goal attempts during the playoff.

Another more subtle improvement in Hauschka's game last season was the depth of his kickoffs, accounting for more, deep end-zone kicks that were not returned than any previous year of his career.

And Seattle isn't the easiet place for a kicker to do his job, often kicking in the rain and sometimes windy and cold conditions. But it's no big deal for Hauschka, who grew up in Needham, Mass., and played three years of college football at Middlebury College in Vermont before ending his college career at North Carolina State.

So this was an important deal for the Seahawks and one that came at a reasonable price.