Will Chiefs make Tommy Townsend the highest-paid punter in NFL?

Tommy Townsend was an All-Pro last year, but is it worth going all-in for a punter?

Kansas City Chiefs Victory Parade
Kansas City Chiefs Victory Parade / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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The case to pay Tommy Townsend

On the one hand, Townsend is doing all of the right things for the Chiefs. Just last year, he was named first-team All-Pro and first-time Pro Bowler at the age of 26. He has a booming kick that gives the Chiefs an instant advantage and he's getting better with each passing season at pinning opponents exactly where Dave Toub wants the ball to be. His average yards per punt has climbed each of his three NFL seasons as well: from 45 to 50.4.

The ability for one team to separate itself from another in the NFL often comes down to what slight edges they can get on the competition for a full 60 minutes. Every athlete is elite. Everyone is talented. So it often comes down to so little in terms of what actually turns into a win or loss. For a team like the Chiefs, Townsend gives them an edge at yet another position—why would they want to give that up?

Even more, it's not as if employing a top 3 player at his position is going to cost a ridiculous amount (as in any other position). A few million dollars per season is certainly worth maintaining that edge in special teams, right? Consider the highest-paid punter in the game—Michael Dickson of the Seattle Seahawks—costs just under $3.7 million per season. That's Mike Edwards-ish territory.

Given his trajectory, it feels safe to say that Townsend will only get better and better in terms of leg strength and accuracy as well as in the way he executes those special teams details (holding the ball) that turn out to be more important in big moments than we often realize. For the cost, it makes complete sense for the Chiefs to sign him long-term, right? Well, not so fast...