Following Prater getting his new contract, Bill Barnwell wrote a piece over at Grantland suggesting that the Prater signing was a poor decision. I don't possess the knowledge, at the moment, to come to a definitive answer on whether or not the Prater signing was a good decision, but I do know that much of Barnwell wrote was nonsense. For instance, one of his conclusions:
There's no year-to-year consistency with kickers, so there's no point in paying a premium for an "accurate" kicker.
However, Barnwell reaches this conclusion by performing a study using every kicker since 1999 who attempted 20 field goals or more in each of two consecutive seasons". This is clear selection bias, as it removes any kicker who was sufficiently poor that he was failed to be brought back for a second season. And, presumably, kickers who had a poor season who were brought back for a second season (and therefore qualify for inclusion) may have, in the past, better demonstrated their ability to make kicks moreso than those who weren't brought back for another try. Additionally, some kickers may have been brought back for another try, but failed to reach 20 field goal attempts because of continued poor play.
I have re-done his study correcting for that, and have pointed out some other obvious fallacies here: http://pigskintelligence.blogspot.com/2012/07/poking-holes-in-kicking-studies.html
I was planning on posting this retort on ESPN, where the article is co-published, but commenting there is basically worthless. Additionally, Grantland doesn't take comments on articles. So, it turned into a blog post on a site I hope to continue to post material to. I hope you don't view this as a cheap plug for myself...it's really about showing Broncos fans something I'm sure they'll be interested in reading.