Sus and Joe C, this is probably one of the few times I have disagreed with either of you. $4 mil is a lot for a punter but consider:
1/3 of the 49ers is O, 1/3 is D and 1/3 is STs and we had the best ST in the league. Okay, STs include KOs, PRs, punts, and KO returns. Andy is responsible for half of our ST punts, which paired with Ginns returns, gave us the best record of yards gained in punt exchanges in the league. Whether he is responsible for 1/2 of ST or somewhat less, to have the guy who can :
give you the 60+ yarder when we are pinned back near our end zone, or
give you a 25 yd difference in punt exchanges, or
drop a punt from way out between the 5 and 10 yd line....
well, he may be just one guy, but he personally sure accounts for a lot of yards in punt exchanges for us, making us best in the league, and he also is famous for dropping a rainmaker inside the 5-10 yd line, pinning the opponent way back ...and changes the O that they have to use.
I certainly understand your reticence in not paying him that kind of $$, but have you ever seen anyone do that kind of thing before...on a routine basis? Nah, i haven't either. He's worth every penny.
Coach Walsh won 3 SBs and never drafted anybody for STs. Regular players did the KOs, PRs. Had he paid as much attn to STs as coaches do now, particularly Coach Harbaugh, many of us think we would have won even more SBs. Today if your STs aren't top flite, you are giving away 1/3 of the game to start with. And that is exactly what STs did for us last yr. We beat up on most teams with our STs, and consequently had significant yardage gained in punt exchanges. That 13-3 wouldn't have been that good without the league's best Punter.
[ Edited by pasodoc9er on May 23, 2012 at 1:49 PM ]