Raiders’ Lechler gets his kicks with four-year deal

On the same day that Tennessee’s Rob Bironas became the highest-paid kicker in NFL history, the Oakland Raiders were on the verge of making Shane Lechler the highest-paid punter in NFL history.

Lechler and the Raiders reached an agreement Wedneday night on a four-year, $16 million deal that keeps the punter off the market and sets a new salary benchmark for the position. The contract includes $9 million in guaranteed money.

It’s only fitting that it comes from the Raiders, the team that produced the finest punter in NFL history, Ray Guy.

At one time, it was widely believed that Oakland wouldn’t be able to retain Lechler. But contract talks intensified enough that the two sides were able to bridge any differences, and Lechler will remain a Raider, also leaving the team with its franchise tag in the event it wants to use it Thursday on CB Nnamdi Asomugha.

Earlier in the day, the Titans reached agreement with Bironas on a four-year, $16 million deal that makes him the highest-paid kicker in the game.

In a league where 30 percent of the games are decided by four points or less, it makes sense to pay punters and kickers. The Raiders and Titans have.

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