Justin Tucker has never missed an extra point in four seasons with the Ravens. Unlike Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who missed a crucial extra point Sunday during the AFC Championship.
Tucker’s proven performance under pressure is another reason the Ravens are determined to keep him, even if they have to use the franchise tag. Last year, the franchise tag for kickers was $4.12 million. Tucker is an impending unrestricted free agent, but asked about his status at the “State of the Ravens” press conference, general manager Ozzie Newsome made it clear Tucker was part of next season’s plans.
“We would like to have Justin continue to be part of our football team,” Newsome said. “We will work on trying to get a contract done. We do know what the franchise number is for a kicker, if it gets to that.”
Tucker has made 139 straight extra points, and having made 130 of 148 field goal attempts during his four-year career, he has demonstrated an ability to make clutch kicks time and again.
Gostkowski has as well, but he picked a bad time to falter after making 523 straight extra points. His rare miss was a major factor in the Patriots’ 20-18 loss to the Broncos. After their final touchdown in the waning moments, the Patriots were forced to go for a two-point conversion because of Gostkowski’s missed extra point early in the game. The two-point conversion attempt failed, and afterward, Gostkowski blamed himself for the defeat.
“I feel like I lost the game,” Gostkowski said via the Boston Globe. “I feel sorry for myself, but I don’t expect people to feel sorry for me.”
Gostkowski signed a four-year, $17.2 million deal with the Patriots last season that included a $6 million signing bonus, making him the NFL’s highest-paid kicker. It will likely take a bigger deal to sign Tucker, who should have many good seasons left at age 26.
Expect the Ravens to do whatever is necessary to keep Tucker. In clutch situations, there is nobody else they would rather have kicking for them.