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.