As free agency enters a second week there have been some more long snapper signings. Veteran Jon Condo has resigned with the Raiders, while Garrison Sanborn did not remain unemployed long. The Bucs signed the veteran snapper who had been with Buffalo but was not resigned. Andrew East was also signed by the Rams.
Thomas Gafford, Brett Goode, Justin Drescher and Andrew DePaola are the remaining unsigned veteran free agents.
Patrick Mannelly remains of the best long snappers in NFL history and Windy City Gridiron recently published an excellent and comprehensive interview with Mannelly.
Entitled “The Life of the Long Snapper” the story by Jack M. Silverstein does an excellent job reviewing some of the well-known and not so well-known aspects of Mannelly’s 16 year career with the Bears.
There have been a few more long snapper signings this past week as veteran free agency is nearly a week old. As usual, snappers tend to stay with their clubs. So, it is no surprise that unrestricted free agents Mike Windt (Chargers), John Denney (Dolphins) and Tanner Purdum (Jets) have all rejoined their teams. Windt signed a four-year deal, while Denney and Purdum inked one-year contracts.
Remaining unrestricted free agents are Thomas Gafford, Brett Goode, Justin Drescher, Jon Condo and Andrew DePaola. DePaola was a restricted free agent but became an unrestricted free agent after Tampa Bay did not tender him a contract to retain his rights.
Veteran free agency officially starts tomorrow in the NFL. However, there have been some moves in advance of that date. The Lions have brought back veteran Don Muhlbach on a one-year deal, while the Bills released Garrison Sanborn.
There are two exclusive rights free agents, for which their existing teams own their rights if they offer a one-year deal. Both Patrick Scales (Bears) and Casey Kreiter (Broncos) will be returning to their teams next season. Andrew DePaola (Buccaneers) is the only restricted free agent and it is unclear at this time if the Bucs will seek to retain his rights in light of his injury late last season.
The remaining unrestricted free agent snappers are Thomas Gafford, Brett Goode, John Denney, Justin Drescher, Tanner Purdum, Jon Condo and Mike Windt.
It has already been an active off season for snappers in the NFL. To date, an unprecedented 10 snappers have signed contracts for next season. Further, a few veteran snappers have signed contract extensions, including Greg Warren (Steelers), Charley Hughlett (Browns) and, most recently, Zak DeOssie (Giants).
With the NFL Combine about to start and veteran free agency getting underway right after that, it is a good time to take a quick look at each NFL team and the current snapping situation.
There are still eight veteran snappers who will soon become unrestricted free agents if not resigned before March 9th. Injured Andrew DePaola of the Bucs is the only pending restricted free agent.
It would not be a surprise if a few more of the unrestricted free agent snappers sign contracts to return to their team, either just before or shortly after the free agency period starts.
Below is an updated chart of each team’s snapping situation and, if applicable, the free agency status of the existing snapper.
2017 Off Season Snapping Chart
Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News recently published his annual rankings of NFL special teams units. The rankings, based on 22 different kicking game categories, assigns points for each category, with the best team finishing with the lowest amount of points.
This year, Philadelphia finished first where they have been for two of the last three seasons. Detroit was second, followed by Kansas City, the Rams and Baltimore. San Diego’s units were the lowest ranked.
If there was any doubt about the importance of special teams, seven of the top 11 special teams units made the playoffs.
A tenth snapper has been signed to a future contract for next season. Winston Chapman, who snapped at Mississippi State, has signed his first NFL contract with the Miami Dolphins. Veteran snapper John Denney will become a free agent next month if the Dolphins do not sign him to a new deal.