The Detroit Lions will officially have a new punter in 2020.
Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, former Lions punter Sam Martin is signing a three-year, $7.05 million deal with the Denver Broncos.
Martin has been the Lions’ punter since 2013, when the team took him in the fifth round of the NFL Draft. He was immediately a reliable punter, ranking in the top 10 in net average for each of his first four seasons in the NFL. It all culminated in a 2016 season that would’ve likely sent Martin to the Pro Bowl had Rams punter Johnny Hekker not had a record-breaking year that season.
Unfortunately for Martin, that would be the peak of his Lions career. An odd off-field injury caused Martin to miss some time in 2017, and his career never quite recovered. Last season, Martin averaged a respectable 41.8 yards per punt with 31 pinned inside the 20-yard line and just seven touchbacks, but the Lions had clearly made up their mind in moving on.
Detroit currently has two punters under futures contracts: Jack Fox and Matt Wile. Fox has never punted in the NFL, while Wile was the Vikings’ full-time punter in 2018. Many expect Detroit to add a punter in this year’s NFL Draft to compete for a starting job in 2020. However, one thing to consider is that Martin was also the team’s kickoff man and field goal holder. His successor will have his hands full.