How Much Longer Will The Texans Keep Lechler?

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Texans punter Shane Lechler
Texans punter Shane Lechler (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Shane Lechler has been on the most consistent punters in the NFL. When the Texans pried him away from the Raiders it was considered to be on of the most underrated moves of the 2013 NFL offseason. But as Lechler is entering his 18th NFL season and will be turning 41 years old, how much longer is his stay in Houston going to be?

Lechler is a multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl caliber punter. Even at this late in his career, he is the special teams weapon that many NFL teams desire. The ability to switch the field and pin an offense back is underrated. An opposing offense starting inside their own 20 yard line compared. to the 35 is a huge difference.

Kicking & Punting Table
Game Punt Punt Punt Punt Punt
Year Age Tm Pos G Pnt Yds Lng Blck Y/P AV
2000+ 24 OAK P 16 65 2984 69 1 45.9 3
2001* 25 OAK P 16 73 3375 65 1 46.2 4
2002 26 OAK P 14 53 2251 70 0 42.5 2
2003+ 27 OAK P 16 96 4503 73 0 46.9 5
2004*+ 28 OAK P 16 73 3409 67 0 46.7 4
2005 29 OAK P 16 82 3744 64 0 45.7 4
2006 30 OAK P 16 77 3660 67 1 47.5 4
2007* 31 OAK P 16 73 3585 70 0 49.1 4
2008*+ 32 OAK P 16 90 4391 70 0 48.8 5
2009*+ 33 OAK P 16 96 4909 70 0 51.1 6
2010*+ 34 OAK P 16 77 3618 68 0 47.0 4
2011* 35 OAK P 16 78 3960 80 0 50.8 5
2012 36 OAK P 16 81 3826 68 1 47.2 3
2013 37 HOU P 16 88 4189 65 0 47.6 3
2014 38 HOU P 16 83 3845 71 1 46.3 3
2015 39 HOU P 16 95 4497 64 0 47.3 3
2016 40 HOU P 16 72 3423 62 0 47.5 3
Care Care 270 1352 64169 80 5 47.5 65
13 y 13 y OAK 206 1014 48215 80 4 47.5 53
4 yr 4 yr HOU 64 338 15954 71 1 47.2 12

There are few punters in the NFL who can flip field position as consistently as Lechler. Consistently high average yards per punt keeps Lechler in the league. During his 17 NFL seasons, Lechler has finished outside the top five in punting average only three times.

Lechler took a substantial pay cut when he signed with Houston. In his final season in Oakland Lechler earned $3.8 million. In Houston Lechler has not earned more than $1.75 million in a single season. These numbers are base salary only and do not include signing bonuses.

For the 2017 season, Lechler will be earning $1.5 million as his base salary with a $500,00 signing bonus. This brings the cap number to $2 million for the upcoming season. The amount the Texans are spending on Lechler ranks them 13th in overall spending at the punter position. While it is not incredibly high salary in regards to other teams. With Lechler’s advanced age, it is relatively high.

In an effort to establish a future plan for the punter position, the Texans signed undrafted free agent Cory Carter out of Texas Southern. Carter has improved every year in college in regards to his punting average. Improving from an average of 44.5 to 45.7 in three seasons. While it is only just over a yard, the improvement is a good sign of things to come. It is going to be at least a year before Carter can consistently punt for a higher average. During this time Lechler will still be the regular punter, but it will begin the transition period of moving on from Lechler.

After this season Houston is going to have a decision to make, keep Lechler around for another season or move on and go all in with Carter. After this season Lechler will be 41 years old and again without a contract. It all depends on whether the Texans are successful this season. A successful season for the Texans keeps Lechler around. A bad season for Houston could spell the end for Lechler in Houston. Lechler’s future is potentially on the shoulders of everybody but him and in this situation it is a good thing.

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