In a move to get ahead of their duties this offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders signed two key members of their special teams unit to four-year extensions Wednesday evening. Credit to Tom Pellissero of NFL Network for the scoop.
Kicker Daniel Carlson is playing on the restricted free agent tender and was set for free agency at the end of the year, but now will stay in Vegas through the 2025 season. Carlson will receive a four-year, $18.4 million extension, making him the third-highest paid kicker in the NFL.
For Carlson, it has to feel good, earning his second contract in the league after being released from the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie when Mike Zimmer had little patience for the first-year pro. Carlson went one-of-four during two games with the Vikings after being a fifth-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft. Notably, Carlson was perfect on his six extra-point attempts.
However, Carlson has since developed into one of the better specialists in the league with the Raiders. Carlson has made 90% of his kicks this season and has missed just two extra points in 2021. It backs up another solid season in 2020, when Carlson knocked in 94.3% of his field goals.
Punter A.J. Cole is also receiving an extension. His new deal is reported to be for four years and $12 million which also places him among the top-four of punter earnings. Collectively, the Raiders have the highest-paid special teams unit in the NFL. Long snapper Trent Sieg earns the seventh-highest among snappers.
These extensions lock up both of their kicking specialists for the next four seasons, allowing them to focus on bigger priorities at the start of the 2021 offseason. We already know they’ll be searching for a new head coach after the resignation of Jon Gruden earlier in the season, but these latest moves shorten their to-do list.