Sauerbrun, Broncos play match game
By Mike Reiss, Globe Staff | April 4, 2007
Punter Todd Sauerbrun agreed to a one-year contract with the Broncos yesterday, but the Patriots can match the offer and retain him. The Patriots maintain that leverage because when Sauerbrun signed with the team last December, the contract gave New England a right of refusal to any deal Sauerbrun signed in 2007.
The 34-year-old Sauerbrun punted in five games for New England last season -- the final two regular-season contests and all three playoff tilts. He was an emergency signing as punters Josh Miller (shoulder) and Ken Walter (knee) had been placed on injured reserve.
The contract Sauerbrun agreed to with the Broncos is filled with incentives and could be worth up to $1.4 million for 2007, according to his agent, David Canter. The offer includes a no-trade provision and clauses that don't allow the Broncos to place the franchise or transition tags on Sauerbrun.
Sauerbrun was acquired by Denver in a trade prior to the 2005 season. He punted in all 16 games that season, but lost his job in 2006 when he was suspended by the NFL for four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He was cut upon his reinstatement. Sauerbrun did not punt for another team before joining the Patriots.
"I feel like I have a lot of life left in my leg, and have a lot of talent left to give," said Sauerbrun, adding that he hopes to play seven or eight more years.
Sauerbrun averaged 40.8 yards per punt and had a 35-yard net in his two regular-season games with the Patriots. In the playoffs, his average soared to 45.7 yards, and his net was 38.5.
Sauerbrun would compete against Paul Ernster; in New England, Sauerbrun would compete against Miller and youngsters Danny Baugher and Tom Malone, both of whom are punting in NFL Europa this spring.