Marquette King, Raiders Agree on New Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIFebruary 29, 2016

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 8:  Punter Marquette King #7 of the Oakland Raiders looks on from the sideline during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 8, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Steelers defeated the Raiders 38-35. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
George Gojkovich/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders announced they agreed to terms on a new contract with punter Marquette King on Monday.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported King's deal is a five-year extension worth $16.5 million in total and $7.75 million in guaranteed money. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora added King will make $10.75 million in the first three years of the contract.

The team's official Twitter account posted a brief message from King to the fans:

King continued to react to the deal on his own account:

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was among those to reach out and congratulate King:

As the Raiders' announcement indicates, King was second in the NFL and set a franchise record in 2015 with 40 punts downed inside the 20-yard line.

King's evident expertise in aiding the Raiders' field position is invaluable. Locking him up to a long-term deal ensures one of the NFL's best kicking tandems remains in place.

During a conference call, King spoke about how he has improved since arriving at the NFL level, via Scott Bair of

When I first came in, the only thing I did have was a driver. Even when I play golf, all I want to do is drive the ball as far as I can. When I got better with the punting deal, I was focused on punting the ball in the trash cans in the corner of the field with just aim. … Constantly doing little drills like that, walking around the field dropping the ball on the lines and doing it to the point to where I just got exhausted and got tired and aggravated is what helped it become second nature. … That’s how I got better.

In addition to King, Oakland also boasts cannon-legged kicker Sebastian Janikowski, for who King serves as the holder. Overshadowed to a degree by Janikowski's perpetual presence, this massive investment in King shows how critical the punter is.

Looking into the re-signing further, of course, the Raiders are in an enviable position to reward an unheralded player like King with a big payday. Per Spotrac, they have more than $74 million in total cap room ahead of free agency.

That figure will take a bit of a hit when King's contract is taken into account, but Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie essentially has free rein to splurge on the open market—and do whatever it takes to retain key free agents.

The phase of special teams can often give a borderline playoff contender a decided edge in close games. With someone like King to saddle opponents deep in their own territory and Janikowski being a bigger threat to score from long distance than about any of his contemporaries, Oakland simply needs a few more pieces in other areas of the roster to make a 2016 postseason push.

Defense is the clear area where the Raiders need to improve if they're meant to build on a 2015 campaign in which they went 7-9 despite ranking 26th against the pass.

Even with King on the books at a relatively high salary for his position, McKenzie has the means to make the appropriate upgrades.