Free Agency Update for Long Snappers after First Week

Free agency is one week old and it looks like most veteran long snappers are in place. Don Muhlbach did re-sign with the Lions for another season and Patrick Scales agreed to terms to return to the Bears for 2021.

Veterans remaining on the market include LP Ladoucuer, Matt Overton and Nick Sundberg. The Texans, who appeared to be moving on from Jon Weeks, are expected to re-sign him and waived Anthony Kukwa.

Assuming Weeks does return to Houston, Washington would be the only team without a snapper currently on the roster.

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Day One of Veteran Free Agency for Long Snappers

Veteran free agency officially began at 4PM today and, prior to that deadline, two more snappers agreed to new deals. JJ Jansen is returning to Carolina and Casey Kreiter to the Giants, each on one-year deals.

Two snappers will be changing teams, as the Cowboys signed former Rams snapper Jake McQuaide to a one-year deal and are moving on from veteran LP Ladouceur. Former Ravens snapper Morgan Cox signed with the Titans, also on a one-year contract.

Veteran snappers currently on the market include Ladouceur, Patrick Scales, Don Muhlbach, Jon Weeks, Matt Overton and Nick Sundberg. Scales and Muhlbach are likely to return to the Bears and Lions.

The Ravens added a street free agent snapper today by signing Brian Khoury, a former Division III snapper, who spent time in the XFL.

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Updated Look at Veteran Free Agency for Long Snappers

Veteran free agency in the NFL starts next week and new deals have taken two snappers off the market. Potential restricted free agent Trent Sieg has signed a new three-year deal with the Raiders and Clark Haris returns to the Bengals on a one-year deal.

While snappers tend to stay with their current clubs, at least one veteran, Morgan Cox, is expected to sign elsewhere after the Ravens indicated that they do not intend to re-sign him.

Here are the 10 remaining unrestricted free agents:

Morgan Cox (Ravens)

J.J. Jansen (Panthers)

Patrick Scales (Bears)

L.P. Ladouceur (Cowboys)

Don Muhlbach (Lions)

Jon Weeks (Texans)

Jake McQuaide (Rams)

Casey Kreiter (Giants)

Matt Overton (Titans); and

Nick Sundberg (Washington)

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Post-Super Bowl Snapping Update; More Future Contracts and Veteran Free Agency

The NFL season finished yesterday with the Buccaneers Super Bowl win over the Chiefs. Congratulations to Tampa Bay snapper Zach Triner who, like many snappers, had an usual and indirect path to the NFL. Triner played lacrosse at Siena before transferring to play football at Assumption University and it took a few years to make an NFL roster. Veteran snapper Garrison Sanborn will also get a ring as a member of the Bucs practice squad.

With the Super Bowl in the rearview mirror, the NFL season never really stops, so attention turns to veteran free agency in mid-March and NFL Draft at the end of April.

Before looking at veteran free agency, it is important to review a few more snappers that have signed reserve/future deals as they could impact veteran free agency. For example, Colin Holba and Steven Wirtel each signed deals with the Rams, Christian Kuntz signed with the Steelers and Nick Moore signed with the Ravens.

Moore filled in for one game due to COVID issues impacting Morgan Cox and the Ravens have stated they will not re-sign Cox, who had an exceptional 11-year career in Baltimore. It also appears the Rams may move on from Jake McQuaide. A total of nine snappers have signed future deals to date, almost double the typical number.

Here are the snappers that will become free agents starting in March. Exclusive and restricted free agents have limited ability to move teams if offered a one-year deal or if they sign an extension, while any unrestricted snapper is free to sign elsewhere if not signed before the start of free agency. Prior to free agency, Taybor Pepper signed a new two-year deal with the Niners and avoided becoming a restricted free agent.

EXCLUSIVE (1): Zach Triner (Buccaneers)

RESTRICTED (1) : Trent Sieg (Raiders)

UNRESTRICTED (11): Morgan Cox (Ravens); J.J. Jansen (Panthers); Patrick Scales (Bears); Clark Harris (Bengals); L.P. Ladouceur (Cowboys); Don Muhlbach (Lions); Jon Weeks (Texans); Jake McQuaide (Rams); Casey Kreiter (Giants); Matt Overton (Titans); and Nick Sundberg (Washington)

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NFL Special Teams Coaching Update

Although there were just a few special teams coaching changes after last season, this off-season in the NFL has been a different story with almost a dozen.

With all of the vacancies now filled, below are the teams that will have a new coach in charge of special teams for the 2021 NFL season. Some coaches have just switched teams from last year, while others are new to the position or former assistant special teams coaches.

ATLANTA: Marquice Williams

DETROIT: Dave Fipp

GREEN BAY: Maurice Drayton

HOUSTON: Frank Ross

JACKSONVILLE: Brian Schneider

CHARGERS: Derius Swinton

RAMS: Joe DeCamillis

MINNESOTA: Ryan Ficken


SEATTLE: Larry Izzo (served as interim in 2020)

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Rick Gosselin’s 2020 NFL Special Teams Rankings Released

The end of the NFL regular season means that NFL writer Rick Gosselin’s annual ranking of special teams units soon follow. Gosselin has been doing his rankings for the last 42 years. He ranks all 32 teams in 22 different kicking game categories and assigns a one for the best and 32 for the worst, so the goal is to get the lowest number possible.

This year, the Patriots, under rookie special teams coach Cameron Achord, finished first with 214 points. Seattle was next at 222.5, followed by Detroit (235.5), Indianapolis (244.5) and New Orleans (260.5).

The Chargers had the worst special teams units under Gosselin’s formula, finishing with 519 points. Just above them was Minnesota (518), the Rams (507), Green Bay (492.5) and Cleveland (465).

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NFL Draft Prospects in Post-Season Games/Events

Like most players, long snappers were hit hard by the pandemic during the NFL Draft process last year. That could be the case again this year, with the NFL Combine being virtual and many Pro Days in doubt.

The post-season all game games and events this year have also been impacted, as the Senior Bowl, College Gridiron Classic, Tropical Bowl and Hula Bowl are the only ones with live elements. The Shrine Game and NFLPA Collegiate Bowl went virtual, but the NFLPA game still invited snappers. The Senior Bowl, for the first time, will feature three snappers instead of the usual two.

As of today, below are the snappers that are participating, or have already participated in, the various games and events:

SENIOR BOWL: Thomas Fletcher (Alabama), Camaron Cheeseman (Michigan) and Ryan Langan (Georgia Southern)

NFLPA COLLEGIATE BOWL: Colton Menges (Alcorn State), Kyle Poland (West Virginia) and Langan

COLLEGE GRIDIRON SHOWCASE: Scott Meyer (Vanderbilt), Adam Bay (Wisconsin), Paul Blackwell (Mississippi State) and Menges


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Divisional Round Long Snapping Update

The NFL playoffs continue this weekend with the Divisional Round, so it is a good time to provide the latest updates on the snapping position around the NFL.

Teams that remain in the playoffs that have a snapper ready on the practice squad are the Ravens (Nick Moore) and Garrison Sanborn (Bucs). The Saints added veteran John Denney to its practice squad, but just removed him. However, it is likely he could be brought back if the Saints advance. The Rams had Colin Holba, who was waived after snapping the last regular season game for the Niners, in for a visit this week, so he may also be signed to the practice squad.

Other snappers have signed reserve/future deals that become effective after this season ends. Dan Godsil (Bengals), Anthony Kukwa (Texans), Carson Tinker (Giants), Rex Sunahara (Dolphins), client Liam McCullough (Raiders) and Matt Orzech (Titans) will all be under contract next season. Most of these snappers were on their team’s practice squad. At least one snapper that was on a practice squad, Steven Wirtel (Lions), has not yet signed a deal for next season after his practice squad contract with Detroit expired. Christian Kuntz, who has been on and off the Steelers practice squad is also available after being released from the practice squad.

Some other big news after the season ended was that the AP All-Pro team includes long snappers for the first time. Morgan Cox (Ravens) had 27 votes to finish on the First Team while Luke Rhodes (Colts) had 8 for the Second Team. Tyler Ott (Seahawks) finished with 7 votes, while Jon Weeks (Texans) and LP Ladouceur (Cowboys) each had 2 votes. Rick Lovato (Eagles), Charley Hughlett (Browns), Nick Sundberg (Washington) and JJ Jansen (Panthers) each had a single vote.

In the Wild Card Round, client Patrick Scales (Bears) had a solo tackle and Charley Hughlett (Browns) added an assisted tackle. Browns special teams coach Mike Priefer served as Head Coach due to COVID impacting Kevin Stefanski and led his team to a win over the Steelers. Other special teams coaches will change during the coming weeks, as the Vikings already dismissed Marwaan Maalouf.

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Alabama’s Fletcher Wins Patrick Mannelly Award

In a virtual ceremony held on Saturday evening, Alabama long snapper Thomas Fletcher became the second recipient of the Patrick Mannelly Award for the best FBS senior snapper. Damon Johnson (USC) and Ryan Langan (Georgia Southern) were the other two finalists.

Fletcher will compete tonight in the National Championship game against Ohio State and next participate in the Senior Bowl as one of the top NFL Draft prospects. The other Senior Bowl snapper will be Camaron Cheeseman from Michigan, who opted out of playing this season.

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Week Seventeen in Review

The NFL regular season is complete and all 256 games were played. Congratulations to Thomas Hennessy (Jets) and Rick Lovato (Eagles) who led all snappers with tackles in punt coverage, each totaling five. Lovato had one solo tackle as part of his five, while Hennessy had three solo tackles. Both were also the tackle co-leaders last season.

Colin Holba snapped for the Niners this week in place of Taybor Pepper who was on the COVID list. Andrew DePaola had a fumble recovery and tackle in punt coverage and Lovato added his only solo tackle for the season. Nick Sundberg (Washington) recorded his first tackle of the season, a solo stop.

Two snappers, John Denney (Saints) and Drew Scott (Cardinals), had tryouts this week. This was the second time Denney has worked out for New Orleans this year.

To briefly review this year at the snapping position, there were a number of performance related changes unrelated to COVID. Kyle Nelson (Niners), Beau Brinkley (Titans) and Austin Cutting (Vikings) all lost their jobs due to performance. In recent years, most changes have been due to injury, but physical injury was not much of a factor this season. There were also two special teams coaching changes during this season, which is also rare. Ben Kotwica (Falcons) and Brayden Coombs (Lions) were both replaced during the regular season.

With the regular season done for many teams, those out of the playoffs can sign players to reserve/future contracts that take effect after this season ends. Among the snappers that have signed are former practice squad members Dan Godsil (Bengals), Anthony Kukwa (Texans) and Carson Tinker (Giants). More signings are expected in the coming days.

In the coming weeks, will track all of the special teams coaching changes, reserve/future signings and snappers heading to veteran free agency in March. Snappers in the upcoming NFL Draft class will also be featured and they face more uncertainty in the scouting process with all-star games, the Combine and Pro Days.

The NFL Long Snappers Chart after the 2020 Regular Season is below.

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