The Broncos boast three straight losing seasons for the first time since the drought of 1963-72. During this time, they have dealt with a myriad of issues. One constant? Poor punting and punt coverage.
Tuesday, Denver continued addressing offseason concerns, signing free agent punter Sam Martin to a three-year, $7.05 million contract, per sources. The investment in Martin suggests he will immediately take over as the starter. Colby Wadman has held the role for the bulk of the last two seasons, replacing Marquette King, a failed free agent addition who did not mesh with Tom McMahon's coaching.
Statistically, Martin represents an upgrade in multiple categories. Detroit ranked 11th in net at 41.8 yards per attempt, compared to Denver's 39.4, which sat at 27th. More importantly, the Lions allowed the fourth-fewest punt return yards, at 130. The Broncos surrendered two punt return touchdowns. Only the Panthers were worse with three. That doesn't fall squarely on Wadman, but his lack of a big leg seemed to run against the history of booming punters at altitude.
Martin also was better at finesse, dropping 31 punts inside the 20-yard line. The Broncos finished with 29. Martin's average salary of $2.35 million ranks 14th among punters.