Last week WGR550 reported that Buffalo Bills free agent kicker Rian Lindell signed a contract which keeps him in Buffalo for the next four years. At 35 years old Lindell is not exactly over the hill for the position. A shoulder injury suffered during the season should not worry the team or fans as he not only would have had to of been cleared by team doctors before signing the contract but as a kicker he is not expected to rack up 100 tackles a season.
The new deal which is a reported 4yr. 11 million dollar contract. Has put Lindell in a category with the top paid kickers in the league. At an average of around 2.75 million per year he is expected to continue to keep the position as stable as he has since his arrival in 2004.
What makes Lindell so valuable to the bills and why I believe the very reason he is worth 11 million dollars is the high level to which he kicks in poor weather conditions not to mention his regular season pct. average over his whole 12 year career is over 80%. As you start to look at the venues that Lindell kicks in every year you notice a trend. The man has a tough road year in and year out in the AFC east as Buffalo, NY Jets, and NE Patriots are all north eastern teams. That is not exactly conditions that kickers pray for. You also have to take into effect how many times Lindell has had his kicks count as the majority of the points scored by the Bills over the years. Not every season was like the beginning of last year where the offense lit the score board up. For many seasons Lindell was having to kick 3+ field goals per game to keep the team within a chance of winning. One more point that should drive home how the Bills new that resigning Lindell was a priority was how two veteran free agents came in to replace him during the injury (Brandon Coutu, and Dave Rayner) and neither one could take the job over or show that they were upgrades.
I believe this contract was not only based on what he can continue to do but also was an example of the principles that Buddy Nix has preached since he has been in Buffalo. “We want to keep our guys that perform well” Nix has stated. Rian got paid not only for what he can do in the future but based on all the contributions he has made in the past on and off the field. He has not only been a very good kicker but he has been a model citizen for the city.
With Lindell now locked up and long snapper Garrison Sanborn locked up as well after signing a contract earlier last week the Buffalo Bills special teams looks to continue its solid run for years to come. The contract also takes another one of Buffalo’s important free agents off the market before the open market begins next month. Congratulations to Rian for a well deserved contract.