The easiest decision facing the Indianapolis Colts this offseason was bringing back kicker Adam Vinatieri, and tonight they finalized the deal. The team announced this evening that they have re-signed the future Hall of Fame kicker, bringing him back for his 21st NFL season and 11th in Indianapolis.
"We are thrilled to retain Adam as a member of the Colts family," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement released by the team. "Adam continues to play at the highest level year in and year out and his hard work, consistency and professionalism are a credit to him being the longest tenured active player in the NFL. Adam has won multiple Super Bowls and is a future Hall of Famer. We look forward to continuing to utilize his championship-pedigree and leadership in our program."
According to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Colts signed Vinatieri to a two-year extension worth $6 million, while he can earn another $1 million in incentives. That's a very reasonable deal for both sides, as even if he earns those incentives, his deal will average $3.5M per season, which is exactly what we projected a week ago. For now, though, it's $3M per season for one of the game's best kickers, which is a great deal. It's also interesting that it's a two-year deal, though not too surprising. Vinatieri has said he would ideally like to play multiple years still, and the deal gives him that chance. As long as 2016 goes alright for him, it wouldn't at all be surprising to see him play out this deal with the Colts.
The 43-year old kicker is still at the top of his game, as he is the most accurate kicker in the NFL over the past two years, hitting 94.8% of his field goals during that span. In 2014, he hit his first 30 kicks of the season before missing one in the season finale, and then in 2015 he finished the season by hitting 25 in a row after two early-season misses. Vinatieri will be returning for his eleventh season with the Colts, which will mean he will have played longer in Indianapolis than he did in New England (he spent ten seasons with the Patriots). During his time with the Colts, Vinatieri has made 240 of 277 field goals (86.6%). He's almost certainly headed for the Hall of Fame once his career is done, but that doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon. He's kicking better as well as ever and wants to keep playing - and the Colts are more than happy to oblige.
Vinatieri is a tremendous leader and influence in the locker room and is a crucial part of the Colts' special teams unit. Owner Jim Irsay had expressed his desire to keep Vinatieri around, and it really was a no-brainer. It's a slight surprise it took this long to get it done, but it doesn't matter, as the Colts have now officially re-signed Adam Vinatieri.