The Detroit Lions officially signed kicker David Akers on Tuesday, giving them their replacement for the now-retired Jason Hanson. On Wednesday, we got a look at what kind of contract the Lions gave Akers, and the Free Press' Dave Birkett reports that it's exactly the same as the one they offered Hanson.
Per Birkett, Akers' deal is for one year and has a base salary of $940,000 (the veteran minimum). It includes a $65,000 signing bonus and $35,000 in guaranteed money from his base salary. When you factor in the veteran's discount, he has a cap hit of $620,000 for the 2013 season.
It was originally believed that the Lions' contract offer to Hanson played a part in his decision to retire, but he shot that down during his press conference on Tuesday. According to Hanson, he would have re-signed with the team if not for his lingering heel injury. Perhaps this is just a case of the two sides playing nice after negotiations started to get a bit ugly a couple weeks ago, but the Lions clearly established a set price for what they were willing to pay their kicker.
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew joked on Tuesday that the Lions "tried to get a little bit younger" at kicker by signing Akers, who is 38 years old (Jason Hanson is 42). Mayhew also explained why the Lions decided to sign Akers to replace Hanson. From the Free Press:
"Another solid veteran, a guy with a lot of experience and playoff experience," Mayhew said. "He’s been kicking outdoors his whole career; we think he’ll get a boost from kicking inside. So I think he’ll be a good player for us."
At this point, I can't see the Lions using a draft pick on a kicker this year. They will almost certainly bring another kicker in for training camp, but he will likely be a camp body rather than actual competition for Akers.