Josh Scobee always expected to sign a long-term contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He felt that way last season, last month and even last week.
Nonetheless, Scobee and the Jaguars nearly waited until the last hour before agreeing on a new deal Monday.
Scobee signed a four-year contract worth between $13.8 million and $14.2 million, making him one of the NFL’s highest-paid kickers. He inked the deal about two hours before the NFL’s deadline to sign franchise players to long-term contracts.
Had Scobee and the team not reached an agreement by 4 p.m., the strong-legged veteran likely would have signed a one-year tender worth $2.88 million.
The new deal is worth $3.45 million annually, with $4.75 million guaranteed. There is $400,000 worth of incentives Scobee could reach.
”There’s added pressure any time you sign a nice deal because people expect you to live up to it,” Scobee said. ”I won’t put any extra added pressure on myself. I like to take things easy and not take myself too seriously, but at the same time work as hard as I can to be the best kicker I can. So I’m sure my teammates expect me to make every kick and that’s my goal so that’s what I’ll work to do.”
Oakland’s Sebastian Janikowski ($4 million annually) and Phil Dawson ($3.81 million) are the only kickers scheduled to make more than Scobee in 2012. His new deal tops recent ones signed by Tampa Bay’s Connor Barth ($3.3 million) and Denver’s Matt Prater ($3.25 million).
”Like I was telling my wife earlier today, this is a moment that we need to remember how we felt whenever it happened and it’s a moment we might not see again because you never know what can happen in life and in the NFL especially,” Scobee said. ”So it’s an exciting moment for us and the Jaguars and thrilled for this to finally happen.”
Scobee has been Jacksonville’s kicker since the team selected him in the fifth round in the 2004 draft. In eight seasons, Scobee has connected on 78.8 percent of his field goals and made 254 of 257 extra points. He enters the 2012 season 10 points away from surpassing Mike Hollis’ franchise record (764), and he needs just nine field goals to eclipse Hollis’ franchise mark of 175 career field goals.
Scobee has converted 18 of 29 field goal attempts from 50-plus yards, the most in team history, and ranks fifth in the league (62.1 percent) since 2004 from 50 or more yards.
Last season, Scobee hit a career-high 92 percent of his field goals (23 of 25). Of his 23 makes, 12 were from 40-plus yards and five were longer than 50. He also had 58 of 62 kickoffs reach the end zone.
”This was an opportunity to reward one of our own who has performed well on and off the field,” Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said. ”With the competitive balance that exists in the NFL it is imperative that you have quality specialists, and . . . we feel strongly that we have three guys who can give us a competitive advantage in the special teams phase. Josh is still relatively young for a kicker and certainly coming into the prime of his career.”