Dec 29, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23) returns a kickoff during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Market For Hester Could Dry Up...Completely


They say there is always a place for footballer who may not be a smarter but is a savvy special teams player.  Devin Hester is one of if not arguably the best return man in the NFL.  The history of the NFL.  Even while being over the age of 30, Hester continues to impress.  Last year he led the league in return yardage.  This year he is a free agent.

Many Miami Dolphins fans wanted to see Hester in Miami.  A return home.  Rumors flew yesterday that Hester wanted to make around four million a year.  If true, a lot of teams would be turned off.  Immediately.  Hester’s value to an NFL club is field position.  Capable of playing CB and WR Hester values himself to be one of the best athletes in the NFL.  Even if he is average at best at either of those two positions.  He may need to get better at both of them quick.

If the NFL has votes next week on an introduced change to kick-off rules by the Washington Redskins then Devin Hester will have very little options remaining to him and his salary expectations will drop as well.  The future of the NFL will be rewritten too.

The proposal would move the kick-0ff to the 40 yard line which would almost entirely eliminate kick-returns.  Last year there was a marked decrease in returns as kickers were able to routinely put the ball deep into the end zone for a touchback.  The NFL should consider eliminating the process all together and have teams start at their own 20.  Sorry, I’m not a proponent of that.  KR’s are exciting or can be but the NFL deems them brutal and the risk of injury, to them, is high.

Special teams could take a big hit this year, especially for kickers.  The move to the 40 would be the start but another proposal, by the New England Patriots, would move the extra point attempt from a 25 yard chip shot to a 45 yard attempt.  That seems a bit drastic.  It takes the element of a fake out of the equation, not that it’s done very often.  In all likelihood fans wouldn’t notice much of a change overall anymore than they would making teams simply go for two every time or taking a one point freebee.  On the surface however it seems as though the NFL is going soft.

For players like Devin Hester the market could dry significantly by the end of next week when the league owners will meet and vote.  He should take the best deal he can get now or cross his fingers.  Otherwise the market for a player who really can only return punts and occasionally a flubbed kick-off will surely make a dent in his payroll expectations.

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  • Johnny

    Yeh… Really how much do you want to play for a Punt Returner??? Plus he’s not as young as springtime anymore.. Plus with kickoffs moved up, there’s way too many touchbacks… Leaving him as basically JUST A PUNT RETURNER… Usually you want a RB or WR as your punt returner.. Since they wouldn’t be one-dimensional… Not a spot on the 53 JUST for a punt returner.. Ted Ginn Jr. would be a better option.. (Since he can also play “alittle” WR)

    • corners

      how many games do you think we lost because thigpen flubbed a return, or Bess had a case of the” Fair Catches”, which thigpen caught in 2013.

      Personally i think with Fields and Hester, its another weapon.They both can change field position anytime they get a shot.

      ted ginn? really?!

      • Johnny

        Hey Ted Ginn got snatched up by Zona to a 3 year contract!!! Hester is still a FA.. Actually other then Ginn being a speedy return specialist, he had 556yds and 5 TDS as a WR last year!!!
        Say what you want.. But Ginn is a great return man and atleast a deep threat WR… What is Hester???

  • LostSok

    Fielding a KO and fielding a punt are two very different skills. Hester is a rare returner with elite ability at both. Just in terms of punt returning, even if the move to the 40 happens soon enough to affect him, gives him great value. Four million? Probably not. But if he’s willing to do a contract that hides his cap numbers as much as possible…close to that doesn’t seem unfair. Not at all.

  • cbradla

    Draft Greg Reed from Valdosta State (Formerly FSU) with a 6th or 7th round pick. Excellent corner and dazzling punt/kick returner. Due to previous injury he will be available and come cheap and is probably 21 or 22. Supposedly worked out yesterday at the FSU field day and looked good. We can always use a GOOD CB.