Jason Myers got one of the first planes to the Pacific Northwest after agreeing to sign with the Seahawks.
On the ground here Thursday, he picked up a pen inside team headquarters in Renton to become Seattle’s new kicker.
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The four-year deal is at a cost not nearly as prohibitive to the Seahawks as first believed.
The 27-year-old Pro Bowl selection last season with the New York Jets will replace Sebastian Janikowski in Seattle with a $4 million signing bonus included within his $7 million guaranteed. Myers carries salary-cap charges to the team of $2.5 million this year and $3.6 million in 2020. His’ base salaries are $1.5 million in 2019 and $2.6 million next year, according to spotrac.com.
If Myers isn’t faring any better in succeeding steady Steven Hauschka than failed Blair Walsh in 2017 and the 40-year-old Janikowski did while breaking down last season, the Seahawks can get out of their deal with Myers before the 2021 season at a cap cost of just $2 million, the remaining cap proration on his signing bonus over the final two years of the contract. All the guaranteed money will be gone after 2020..
Not quite the $4 million per season as was widely reported when he agreed to terms on Wednesday.
These new numbers make the deal a value for the budget-conscious Seahawks, given all the low-scoring, close games they tend to play with what was the top rushing offense in the NFL last season. A dependable kicker likely again will be the difference between making the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years, or missing them as they did in 2017. Walsh’s misses in three losses largely kept Seattle from the postseason that year.
Myers’ cap numbers will be relatively team-friendly while general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll navigate the far more important trick of re-signing quarterback Russell Wilson, All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner and top pass rusher Frank Clark to mega-rich extensions in the next year.
Last season Myers earned $705,000 with the Jets.
The Seahawks originally signed him in January 2018 to a futures contract. That was months after Jacksonville cut him in the middle of the 2017 season for going 11 of 15 on field goals through six games. Months after signing Myers the Seahawks signed Janikowski. Janikowski basically won the job by the start of training camp last summer, after he had showed the Seahawks he was recovered from a back injury that ended his last of 18 years with the Oakland Raiders.
Seattle released Myers on Aug. 20, even before the 2018 preseason was over. It was never really a competition. The Jets then signed him, and throughout last season were thrilled they did.
Janikowski made 22 of 27 field goals last season for the Seahawks, including last-play game-winners at Arizona and Carolina. But he also missed three extra points, the most of his career. His kickoffs were shorter than his career average. And by December he was hurting again. At the end of the first half of the Seahawks’ wild-card playoff loss at Dallas Jan. 5, he injured his hamstring trying to boom a 57-yard field goal. He limped off the field needing help from teammates.
It was the last thing he’d do for Seattle.
Thursday’s signing of his new, more-understood contract, worth more than seven times more than he’s earned so far in his NFL career, is the first thing Myers will do for the Seahawks.