49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

May 22, 2010
Andy Lee's punts are booming, salary isn't

***UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.**** I just received an email from Andy Lee's father-in-law, who notes that Lee and his wife are expecting their first child. That's why Lee missed last week's session. He expects to return to Santa Clara on June 7, according to his father-in-law.

Add punter Andy Lee to the list of veterans missing from this week's OTA practices. Lee was one of the top two punters in the league in 2009, and he made his second Pro Bowl. However, he is very much in the middle of the pack when it comes to compensation, and Lee has been seeking a contract that's more commensurate with his skills. A team source noted Lee's dissatisfaction with his contract and the end of last season when Pro Bowl rosters were announced. Is Lee's recent absence related to his contract? Lee's agent, Eddie Edwards, did not return phone calls and an email sent this week.

Lee finished second to Oakland's Shane Lechler, who is one of the most well compensated punters in the league, in gross average in 2009 and was No. 5 in net average. Lee has been one of the top 10 punters in the league in both net and gross average the last three seasons. He also has proven to be a very good holder, something at which his predecessor, Bill LaFleur, struggled mightily. The battery of snapper Brian Jennings, kicker Joe Nedney and Lee is one of the best in the league.

The 49ers argue, however, that Lee cannot punt directionally, something the top punters are expected to do. They also note that Lee has only himself to blame for his current contract. In 2007, Lee was a restricted free agent who signed an offer sheet on a six-year deal from the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers merely matched that offer to retain Lee.

The following rankings are based on base salary only. Figures are courtesy of the NFL Players Association:

1. ATL Michael Koenan, $2.73M
2. OAK Shane Lechler $2.6M
3. BAL Sam Koch $1.76M
4. DAL Mat McBriar $1.55M
5. CLE Dave Zastudil $1.42M
6. DET Nick Harris $1.3M
7. CHI Brad Maynard $1.27M
8. BUFF Brian Moorman $1.23M
9. KC Dustin Colquitt $1.2M
10. CAR Jason Baker $1.14M
11. JAX Adam Podlesh $1.101M
12. PIT Daniel Sepulveda $1.101M
13. PHI Sav Rocca $1.101M
14. SD Mike Scifres $1.1M
15. STL Donnie Jones $1.1M
16. HOU Matt Turk $1.05M
17. MINN Chris Kluwe $1M
18. SF Andy Lee $1M
19. SEA John Ryan $1M

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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