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 let Tommy Townsend walk

For all that's been said about Townsend's value—and no one should take anything away from it—there are factors that should be considered on the opposite side that come into play, like it or not.

First, it's important to look at the overall talent at the position. The second-highest paid player in the game at the punter position is Jack Fox, whose name should ring as familiar to Chiefs Kingdom. After all, he was brought in as a specialist to compete with Dustin Colquitt in 2019 as a rookie free agent. The Chiefs kept him on the practice squad to start the season and then even activated him when Colquitt was briefly injured.

It would likely be Jack Fox we're talking about here instead of Townsend if the Detroit Lions hadn't swept in and signed Fox to be their punter later in 2019. A few years later, the team has him locked up through the 2027 season because he's that good.

Year in and year out, the Cheifs have a list of prospects they like coming into the league who could serve as a replacement if the situation called for it. Dave Toub has already proven capable of identifying guys who can come in and turn themselves into the best in the league. So why should the Chiefs pay anyone an exorbitant amount when they've proven capable of hitting on prospects—the same argument for not signing L'Jarius Sneed when there are so many young corners who performo so well?

In addition, it's easy to say "it's only a few million" but for a team like the Chiefs with a roster that's so heavy with star players getting paid, a few million can make the difference between signing Drue Tranquill or not on the open market. If the Chiefs can be "fine" at punter and also grab a solid player at another position to withstand the rigors of a long NFL season, is that not worth it?

Finally it's important to note that the Chiefs actually use their punter less than most teams. Townsend has 142 career punts over his first three NFL seasons. That's six less than Dickson over the last two years. Consider that Corliss Waitman punted 96 times for the Broncos a year ago to lead the league and Townsend came in No. 26—should the Chiefs pay an asset that much when he's not utilized at even a league average rate?


How a person feels about locking up Tommy Townsend to a long-term deal is likely going to come down to how they'd answer the questions asked above. To me, however, every advantage is worth holding onto in a league where sustained success is a unicorn. The amount simply isn't that much and if a team can't figure out a way to create $3M to keep an All-Pro at his position, there are greater issues financially. Townsend has earned the money and the Chiefs would be wise to be the ones paying the bill.