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Prater deal re-confirms that kickers have it better than running backs

Chicago Bears v Denver Broncos

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11: Place kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos celebrates his 59 yard field goal to tie the score 10-10 with the Chicago Bears with three seconds remaining in the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. Prater kicked the game winning 51 yard field goal in overtime as the Broncos defeated the Chicago Bears. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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Veteran running backs are having it rough these days. And the muscle-bound ball carriers are getting dirt kicked in their faces by the 98-pound weaklings.

The contract signed Monday by Broncos kicker Matt Prater proves once again that first-tier kickers are getting paid as much or more than second-tier running backs.

Per a source with knowledge of the contract, Prater received a four-year, $13 million deal, with $4.25 million fully guaranteed. He also can make an extra $350,000 in 2013, 2014, and 2015 if he makes the All-Pro team in 2012, 2013, and 2014, respectively.

And so the game’s highest-paid kickers now fall between $3 million and $4 million in annual average. And the game’s B-level tailbacks like Michael Bush ($3.5 million per year), BenJarvus Green-Ellis ($3 million), Peyton Hillis ($2.6 million), and Mike Tolbert ($2.5 million) aren’t holding up well in comparison.

So the message once again, kids, is to quit carrying the ball in your arms and to start kicking it.