The same week they signed special teams linebacker Tim Dobbins to a two-year extension, the Miami Dolphins have extended the contracts of two more special teams players in long snapper John Denney and punter Brandon Fields.
Both players were entering contract years in 2010, with Denney slated for unrestricted free agency and Fields for restricted free agency next offseason.
Fields receives an increase on his 2010 base salary from $550,000 to $598,000, while also adding base salaries of $726,000 in 2011 and $864,000 in 2012. Denney's 2010 base salary stays put at $635,000, but he'll have an additional three years tacked onto his contract with base salaries of $700,000 in 2011, $835,000 in 2012, and $860,000 in 2013.
The new deals, which also likely included some guaranteed money up front, will allow the Dolphins to retain two young, quality players while providing continuity in the kicking game.
In addition to their contributions on punts, Denney and Fields also serve as the long snapper and holder, respectively, for Dolphins placekicker Dan Carpenter on field goals and extra points.
An undrafted free agent out of BYU in 2005, Denney has appeared in all 80 regular season games for the Dolphins over five pro seasons.
Fields, who was selected by the Dolphins in the seventh round out of Michigan State in 2007, is coming off a career season in 2009 that saw him set personal bests in punting average, net average, and punt downed inside the opponent's 20-yard line.
This deals obviously work out well for both sides, as it allows the team to focus on other areas going forward knowing they don't have to worry about any of the three special teams positions.
Instead of having their punter and long snapper heading into the season worrying about their job security, the team made investments in both players.
Happy long snapper and punters are productive long snappers and punters, and keeping their core special teams trio intact is definitely a good thing.
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