Marquette King will stay in the AFC West. That was, in part, a factor in signing with the Denver Broncos just days after the Raiders cut him with three years left on his contract.
The popular, productive punter said facing the Raiders regularly over the life of his new three-year deal -- reportedly worth up to $7 million -- in Denver played a part in his decision.
“I just wanted to find the best place that I thought I would fit,'' King said in a conference call with Denver media, per KUSA. "I think there is somewhat of a revenge factor in there, too.”
That revenge factor wasn’t the only reason King chose Denver. He called the Mile High City a “punter’s paradise,” with its high altitude allowing his strong leg to send punts high and deep. King has been excellent during appearances in Denver, and played a vital role in a 2015 victory at Sports Authority Field by placing five punts inside the opposing 20-yard line.
It must also be said here that King didn't choose to get cut. He was released without warning, and found a solid fit and a quality salary. King said the last week has been weird, from his surprise cut to signing in Denver.
“The last few days were definitely different. It felt like — you know how you play those UFC games and you get punched and you’re in a daze until you get knocked out? That’s what it kind of felt like,” King said, via the Denver Post. “It all happened so fast. I just felt like Denver was the best team to go to. The people that I was familiar with that are here with the organization — you get a homely feeling when you get here. I’m just looking forward to competing and winning games. That’s all.”
Punters of King’s caliber don’t often hit free agency, especially mid-contract. He had roughly $3 million per season coming through 2020 on a deal inked during the 2016 offseason, a number now too steep for the Raiders.
King was also well known for celebrating successful punts, the occasional penalty flag and an eccentric personality that gave him a powerful social media presence.
King said he wasn’t told if that played a role in his release from the Raiders. He didn’t get an explanation, and said he never met new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.
“I just saw him on car commercials and stuff,” King said, via the Denver Post. “But I’ll definitely get to see him two times a year.”
King said the Broncos didn’t ask him to tone down his celebrations or off-field persona.
“Not at all,'' King said, via the Denver Post. "The cool thing about the Broncos is the people that work at the Broncos encourage you to be yourself. That is real cool. Players play a lot better when they can let their hair down and be themselves. It’s cool.''
King hasn’t spoken to Bay Area press since his release, but tweeted two things shortly after signing with Denver.
😈— Marquette King (@MarquetteKing) April 5, 2018
Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin, who wasn’t thrilled with King posting a picture of him and Aqib Talib holding a chain – a perceived shot at Michael Crabtree’s feud with the then-Broncos cornerback – chimed in on King’s team switch.
Y’all knew that’s where he wanted to b all along— Bruce Irvin (@BIrvin_WVU11) April 5, 2018