The Las Vegas Raiders have been busy making sure their special teams are handled for the future. The franchise has already agreed to an extension with kicker Daniel Carlson placing him amongst the highest-paid at his position, and now the same is being done with punter A.J. Cole.
Cole has been with the Raiders for three years and is currently enjoying his best season in the NFL. Cole ranks tops in the league with a 51.1 yard average on his punts and has never had a punt blocked in his three seasons in the NFL.
The franchise rewarded Carlson with a four-year extension and now is doing the same with Cole as Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Raiders are also giving a four-year extension to Cole, which will also place him amongst the highest-paid at his position:
Compensation update: Raiders are giving punter AJ Cole a four-year, $12.4 million deal that includes $5.9 million guaranteed.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2021
The $12.4 million deal is the fourth highest in the NFL, trailing only Michael Dickson of the Seahawks, Tress Way of the Washington Football Team, and Brett Kern of the Titans. In addition, Cole’s contract places him behind just Dickson, Way, and Logan Cooke of the Jaguars as far as guaranteed money.
The Raiders are still in the middle of a packed AFC playoff race but are clearly looking to lock up certain things for the future, and their special teams are obviously chief among them. There are no questions regarding the Raiders’ kicking game moving forward with both Carlson and Cole locked up.
Of course, there are still plenty of other question marks surrounding the team; chief among them is who will be the head coach after this season, as Rich Bisaccia is currently the team’s interim coach. The other major question is at quarterback as the future of Derek Carr remains in question.
Regardless, this is an excellent time for Cole, who joined the Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2019. In addition to his league-leading punting average, Cole also ranks in the top-10 in punts inside the 20, net punting average, and longest punt.