Kansas City Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend proved this past season that he is one of the best at his position in the NFL, which was evident by his All-Pro status. That’s why Arrowhead Pride’s Jared Sapp believes the defending Super Bowl champions “likely” will make Townsend the highest-paid punter in the NFL this offseason.
“The Chiefs made the correct decision three years ago to replace a trusted veteran with a rookie. Given the importance head coach Andy Reid has long placed on special teams reliability, expect a top-of-the-market contract for Townsend — which likely will average less than $4 million per season — to be among Kansas City’s first offseason moves,” Sapp wrote on February 20.
During the 2022-2023 regular season, Townsend ranked second in the NFL in punt average (50.4), first in net average (45.6), and tied for the second-longest punt of the season (76), per NFL.com.
Townsend had a total of 10 punts during Kansas City’s Super Bowl run, and 5 of them were down inside the opponent’s 20 yard line. His longest punt went for 60 yards, which is the farthest punt he has had during the playoffs in his three-year career, per Pro Football Reference.
Townsend a Restricted Free Agent
Tommy Townsend entered the NFL undrafted out of Florida and signed with the Chiefs in April of 2020. Three days later, Kansas City released veteran punter Dustin Colquitt, who had been with the team for 15 seasons.
Since becoming the Chiefs’ full-time starter in 2020, Townsend has averaged 47.6 yards per punt during the regular season and has had 62 of 142 total punts downed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line, according to Pro Football Reference. During the playoffs, he has averaged 43.3 yards per punt and has had 11 of 24 punts downed inside the opponent’s 20 yard line.
This offseason, Townsend will be a restricted free agent, which means he’s free to negotiate and sign with any other team, but the Chiefs can offer him one of the various qualifying tenders that come with the right of first refusal and/or draft pick compensation.
List of Kansas City’s 2023 Free Agents
Here’s a list of all the Chiefs players that are set to be free agents when free agency begins on March 15:
- OT Orlando Brown Jr.
- OT Andrew Wylie
- OT Prince Tega Wanogho (RFA)
- OG Nick Allegretti
- WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
- WR Mecole Hardman
- WR Justin Watson
- WR Cornell Powell
- DE Carlos Dunlap
- DT Derrick Nnadi
- DT Khalen Saunders
- DT Tershawn Wharton (RFA)
- RB Ronald Jones II
- DT Brandon Williams
- TE Blake Bell
- TE Jody Fortson
- TE Jordan Franks
- FB Michael Burton
- S Deon Bush
- S Juan Thornhill
- RB Jerick McKinnon
- QB Shane Buechele (ERFA)
- LB Darius Harris (RFA)
Twitter users have been chatting about free agency in connection to the Chief, who are working their way towards back-to-back championships.
“After Super Bowl LIV, we heard ‘run it back’ and the front office strained to keep the team together,” Sapp wrote. “Chiefs have 15 players set for unrestricted free agency and a couple of cut for cap space candidates. Some hard decisions will be made this time.”
“I’m ready for free agency and the draft,” one Twitter user wrote. “Chiefs have a legit shot at going back to back championships. The NFL hasn’t had back to back champs since the 03-04 Patriots.”