Denver Broncos: Kicker Matt Prater Expected to Hold out of Mandatory OTAs

Jason Muckley@@jamuckleySenior Analyst IIJune 12, 2012

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11:  Place kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos strides into a kick on a hold by Britton Colquitt #4 against the Chicago Bears at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos might have a contract problem on their hands with kicker Matt Prater, on whom the team officially used its franchise tag this offseason to give itself more time to work on a deal to keep him in Denver.

Prater never signed the $2.6 million franchise tender that the Broncos used on him this offseason, and therefore will not be fined for failing to report to the team's mandatory organized team activities.

The Denver Post's Denver Broncos reporter, Mike Klis was the first to report this via his Twitter account:

K Matt Prater not expected to attend the Broncos' mandatory minicamp tomorrow-Wed-Thurs. Only it's not officially mandatory for him.

— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) June 11, 2012


Because Prater has not signed $2.6 mil franchise tender, he's not under contract. And if he's not under contract, Broncos can't fine him.

— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) June 11, 2012

This development could mean that the Broncos will need to scurry to find a replacement for the time being if the issue isn't resolved shortly. As of now, Prater is the only kicker on the Broncos' roster.

Prater had another exceptional season in 2011, his fourth full season with the Broncos. He made 19 out of 25 field-goal attempts with a season long of 59 yards. He was a perfect 30-for-30 on extra-point attempts, and had a career-high 47 touchbacks, which was aided by the implementation of a new rule moving the line of scrimmage on kickoffs to the 35-yard line.

Prater has a huge leg and proved to be clutch last season. Four of the team's eight wins last season ended on game-winning field goals by Prater. In a pivotal game against the Chicago Bears, Prater hit a 59-yard field goal to send the game into overtime, and then ended the game with a 51-yarder in overtime.

If the Broncos are going to have any chance at postseason glory in 2012, they need a clutch kicker like Prater. 

The Broncos' only bargaining chip might be that they are playing at an altitude that makes some of those lengthy kicks a bit less impressive. However, there are still going to be eight games played in Denver by the Broncos next year, and Prater has earned his status as an elite kicker in this league.

Denver, give him the multi-year deal he is worth.