49ers Trade Pro Bowl Punter Andy Lee to the Browns

By Vincent Frank

Punters are people too.

Following the selection of Clemson’s Bradley Pinion in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers seemingly didn’t have any use for three-time Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee.

So on the surface it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that San Francisco shipped Lee off to the Cleveland Browns for a seventh-round pick in 2017 on Saturday.

Though, the overall situation is just weird.

Lee, 32, has been considered one of the best punters in the NFL since San Francisco selected him in the sixth round of the 2004 draft from Pittsburgh. In 11 NFL seasons, he’s averaging a whopping 46.8 yards per punt. Lee played a huge role in San Francisco’s success under Jim Harbaugh from 2011-2014. Altering the field position battle on a consistent basis, it could be concluded that Lee’s presence is one of the reasons San Francisco has finished among the league leaders in scoring defense over the past four seasons.

Apparently, the 49ers figured it was time to move on from the Pro Bowl punter. He’s set to count nearly $12 million against the cap over the next three years—a rather large sum for a punter.

As it relates to the guy replacing San Francisco’s long-time punter, Bradley Pinion has an absolutely huge leg. The 6-foot-5, 229-pound punter, just recently nailed a 65-yard field goal in practice. He’s seen as being not only a punter, but the team’s kick-off and long-range field goal specialist.

Photo: USA Today Sports