Upon hearing that the Indianapolis Colts had agreed to a contract extension with kicker Adam Vinatieri on Tuesday night, the first reaction among Colts fans was that of joy and excitement. After that, however, came this question: what took so long?
Re-signing Vinatieri was, without a doubt, one of the easiest decisions the Colts will have to make this offseason. The league's most accurate kicker over the past two seasons, the future Hall of Famer is kicking as well as ever right now and wanted to stay in Indianapolis. The Colts wanted to keep him around as well, which should have led to an easy negotiating process, right?
Turns out it wasn't that easy. "It was much more difficult than it needed to be," Vinatieri told CBS4's Mike Chappell. "It was a battle, that's for sure. But it's done and I'm happy about it. It's never easy when you express how much you want to stick around."
The main hangup in the deal centered around the length of the contract: Vinatieri wanted a longer deal, while the Colts didn't want to offer it. Vinatieri told the Indianapolis Star's Zak Keefer that the two sides were at a standstill on Tuesday until the Colts offered a two-year deal - one that Vinatieri accepted.
In other words, Adam Vinatieri isn't simply considering playing several more seasons, he wanted his contract to express as much. "In a perfect world I would have signed a three-year deal,'' Vinatieri told Chappell. "It wasn't in the cards. Hopefully I can play well enough for he next two years that will warrant me playing one more season.''
Though he's 43 years old and will turn 44 before the 2016 ends, Vinatieri shows no signs of wearing down, and he doesn't have any plans to hang it up anytime soon. He's chasing his fifth Super Bowl ring, but he's also chasing Morten Anderson's kicking records. Vinatieri currently ranks third in NFL history in points scored behind Morten Anderson and Gary Anderson, and he ranks the same in career field goals. He needs 291 more points and 62 made field goals to tie the records, realistically putting him about three years away from reaching those marks. He admitted to Pro Football Talk earlier this year that those records are in the back of his mind as he continues to play.
We know that almost every contract is year-to-year in the NFL, but Adam Vinatieri wanted more security in his contract, wanting a multi-year deal. Though he was hoping for a three-year deal, the Colts eventually offered a two-year contract and the two sides compromised. The contract - reportedly for $6 million over those two years - seems to be a good deal for both sides, and the most important part is that it's done.
"Ultimately we got a pretty good deal," Vinatieri told Chappell. "I wanted to keep playing and I really wanted to stay here. There's nothing I'd rather be doing than playing for the Colts. I'm jacked and ecstatic that I have the opportunity to finish my career here.''