With the NFL Draft commencing Thursday, one team added some snapping depth, as the Cowboys signed Scott Daly from last year’s Draft class. In addition, the lone remaining exclusive rights free agent, Tyler Ott, signed his new contract with the Seahawks.
Stayed tuned to Longsnap.com during the upcoming weekend, as I will be tracking all the snapping moves during and after the Draft.
NFL teams still need dedicated long snappers. Alex Kirshner of SB Nation recently wrote an excellent analysis of how NFL teams still need a specialist that does nothing other than snap despite the trend toward versatility in other positions.
In his story, titled “Why NFL teams still can’t live without a long snapper”, Kirshner describes the trend from the early 2000’s of teams employing a pure snapper. Featuring comments from client Brett Goode, NFL coaches and remarks from an interview Kirshner did with me, the article describes the unique nature of snappers who have both the most, and the least, job security in the NFL.
With the NFL Draft a few weeks away, the snapper signings have slowed. Two exclusive rights free agents, client Casey Kreiter (Broncos) and Luke Rhodes (Colts), have each signed their one-year contracts. Client Patrick Scales, who was not tendered by the Bears as an exclusive rights free agent, recently signed a new one-year contract with Chicago. Tyler Ott remains the only exclusive rights free agent that was tendered by Seattle to keep his rights, but has not actually signed his contract but that is expected to happen soon.
Andrew East was waived by the Raiders, leaving newly-signed Andrew DePaola as the only snapper on the Oakland roster. As of right now, just five teams (Cardinals, Broncos, Jaguars, Chargers and Vikings) have two snappers on the roster.
There were no veteran snapper signings this week, but two teams added snapping depth for the spring. The Broncos signed Christian Kuntz, who was a linebacker and snapper at Duquesne and spent time with the Patriots last August. The Vikings added Nick Dooley, who snapped at UTEP and was part of the 2016 NFL draft class.
There have been some additional snapping transactions as veteran free agency moves into the end of its first week. It is rare for snappers to change teams, but Andrew DePaola did just that, signing a new deal with Oakland after spending last season in Chicago. Bradley Nothnagel was waived by Oakland after the DePaola signing.
John Denney will be back in Miami for another season and LP Ladouceur will also return in Dallas. Veteran free agent snappers that remain on the market include client Brett Goode, Garrison Sanborn, Jon Condo and Matt Overton.
NFL free agency is now underway and it has already impacted the snapping position. First, of the six exclusive rights free agents, three were offered one-year contracts allowing their teams to retain their rights. The snappers that were tendered contacts are client Casey Kreiter (Broncos), Tyler Ott (Seahawks) and Luke Rhodes (Colts). The three that were not offered contracts and are now free agents are client Patrick Scales (Bears), Taybor Pepper (Packers) and Jeff Overbaugh (Vikings).
With respect to the unrestricted free agents, who could sign with any team unless re-signed, a few have new deals. Aaron Brewer (Broncos), Jake McQuaide (Rams) and Don Muhlbach (Lions) each signed new contracts with their existing clubs. The snappers who are now free to sign anywhere are client Brett Goode (Packers), Garrison Sanborn (Buccaneers), John Denney (Dolphins), LP Ladouceur (Cowboys), Matt Overton (Jaguars) and Andrew DePaola (Bears).
The NFL Combine is now underway and could be a prelude to some activity in the veteran snapper market before free agency in mid-March. Ten snappers will become unrestricted free agents that can sign with any club if not re-signed before free agency. It would not be a surprise to see many of these snappers sign new deals with their teams in the coming weeks. The unrestricted free agent snappers are:
Aaron Brewer (Cardinals)
Brett Goode (Packers)
Don Muhlbach (Lions)
Garrison Sanborn (Buccaneers)
Jake McQuaide (Rams)
John Denney (Dolphins)
Jon Condo (Raiders)
LP Ladouceur (Cowboys)
Matt Overton (Jaguars)
Andrew DePaola (Bears)
There are also six snappers that are exclusive rights free agents for which their current team has the exclusive right to retain them by offering a one year contract. Two potential exclusive rights snappers, Zach Wood (Saints) and Kameron Canaday (Steelers), have already signed new one-year deals. The remaining exclusive rights snappers are:
Casey Kreiter (Broncos)
Tyler Ott (Seahawks)
Patrick Scales (Bears)
Taybor Pepper (Packers)
Jeff Overbaugh (Vikings)
Luke Rhodes (Colts)
Finally, the last specials teams coaching vacancy has been filled, as the Colts have hired Ray Ventrone.