Patriots positional review: Specialists

Patriots positional review: Specialists
February 21, 2014, 7:00 pm
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Tom E. Curran concludes his position-by-position analysis of the Patriots as we head into the offseason. Today: Specialists.

STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
AGE: 30 (1/28/84)
STATS: 38 of 41 field goals made
CONTRACT: Expires after 2014
2014 CAP HIT: $3.8M ($2.9M salary, $800K prorated bonus, $100K workout bonus)
 
Gostkowski had the best season of his career. He was accurate from deep (six plus-50 field goals made) and in the clutch. A Pro Bowler, he was 1 and 1A with Justin Tucker of the Ravens as the league’s best kicker. Also pitched in as the punter when Ryan Allen got injured in the playoff game against the Colts. Gostkowski averaged 41.8 yards per punt. The Patriots will want to work on a new deal for him sooner rather than later.
 
RYAN ALLEN
AGE: 23 (2/28/90)
STATS: Averaged 45.9 yards per punt with a net of 39.9 and 29 punts inside the 20.
CONTRACT: Expires after 2014
2014 CAP HIT: $495,500 ($495K base salary, $500 in prorated bonus).
 
That prorated bonus on Allen’s salary cap hit cracks me up. I’m sure he finds it less amusing though. The undrafted rookie from Louisiana Tech had a terrific rookie year. The only thing he’ll want to tune up in his second season is his relatively high number of touchbacks (10).
 
DANNY AIKEN
AGE: 25 (8/28/88)
CONTRACT: Expiring
2014 CAP HIT: restricted free agent
 
Aiken didn’t have the most accurate season as the Patriots long-snapper and his airmailing of Ryan Allen in the Divisional Championship game cost the Patriots two points and Allen’s services for the rest of the week. A restricted free agent, expect the Patriots to low-tender Aiken. He’ll need a solid offseason and training camp to re-establish the trust of special teams coach Scott O’Brien.