Punter Britton Colquitt of the Denver Broncos kicks the ball during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 12 2010. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
I remember the first time I saw Britton Colquitt. It was late July, 2009 and I was at the Denver Broncos Training Camp at the teams Training Complex in Dove Valley. It was my first Camp experience, The team had a brand new fresh faced coach and I wanted to see what my favorite team was going to look like with a new beginning. The Broncos had a veteran Punter by the name of Brett Kern, who was a holdover from the previous season and they had also brought in an Undrafted Free Agent named Britton Colquitt for competition. The Colquitt family is well represented in football circles, as his father Craig won 2 Super Bowl Rings with the Pittsburgh Steelers and his brother Dustin plays for Division rival Kansas City Chiefs. There is also his little known uncle Jimmy, who played for the Seattle Seahawks.
Britton did not make the team and was let go during the last roster cuts on September 1, 2009. I thought he had a great Camp at the time and really wondered why he was released. I felt that he out performed Kern and deserved a shot. My analysis was justified when Brett Kern ended up shanking his way off the roster. Veteran Mitch Berger was brought in to replace Kern in Week 7 and I puzzled over that decision too. Finally, in December, the Broncos resolved the situation and poached Britton from the Miami Dolphins Practice Squad and placed him on their Active Roster on December 30, 2009. Colquitt has been steadily improving since then.
Colquitt is a third-year punter and one of three Exclusive Rights Free Agents on the Broncos this season. That alone pretty much ensures that he will be re-signed. But let's look at what makes him a keeper.
Britton set a single-season franchise record in both gross punting average (47.4) and net punting average (40.2) for the Broncos in 2011. His 33 punts inside the 20 ranked 2nd in the league and he was 3rd in forcing Fair Catches with 27. In Week 2 vs. Cincinnati, he was named Peter King’s Special Teams Player of the Week after recording a career high 51.0-yard net punting average.
In October, Colquitt became just one of two players in NFL history to post a 50-yard gross average along with a 43-yard net average during a single month (min. 20 attempts), punting 24 times for a 50.3-yard average (43.5 net) with four punts inside the 20 and zero touchbacks. His 53.7 gross punting average against the Chargers ranked 2nd in the NFL in Week 5. At Miami (Week 7), he booted a punt 66 yards to mark a career high. In the Detroit game (Week 8), his 46.1 net punting average was the 2nd best mark in Broncos history for a single game (minimum 7 punts). Colquitt became just the 12th player in NFL history to record a 51+ gross punting average, a 48+ net average, three punts inside the 20-yard line and zero touchbacks in a single game. During Week 14's Overtime Win past the Chicago Bears, Britton placed three punts Inside the 20 for the 4th consecutive week. It marked the first time in his career that he has pinned three or more punts inside the 20 in five consecutive games. In the last regular season game against Kansas City, he put a career best five punts Inside the 20 and attempted nine punts which tied his career high.
Free Agent Options
The list of Free Agent Punters include: Mat McBriar, Donnie Jones, Steve Weatherford, Dave Zastudil, Nick Harris, Daniel Sepulveda, Brad Maynard, Ben Graham and Matt Turk. Colquitt made $405,000 in 2011 and the minimum he can make in 2012 according to the new CBA is $700,000. The Broncos won't Franchise Tag him because of his ERFA status, but the projected Franchise Tender for the position this year is: $2.665 - $2.768 Million, while the projected Transition Tender is: $2.452 - $2.546 Million. The average salary of a punter was $1.08 Million in 2011 and the average for the 20 of 32 punters currently under contract for 2012 is $1.28 Million. I think Colquitt has performed admirably and should be kept since he is near the top of the league in most Punting categories.