Friday, December 26, 2014

How Akers stacks up

By now, you've probably heard that the Eagles have placed the transition tag on David Akers today. Since I've received quite a few questions on Twitter about what that means, here goes: * The Eagles agree to pay Akers the average salary of the top 10 punters and kickers for one season. * Other teams can still try to sign Akers, but the Eagles have the right to match any offer. * If they don't match an offer, and he signs elsewhere, the Eagles receive no compensation in the form of draft picks. The franchise tag is different because it pays the average salary of the top five players. There are two types of franchise tags: exclusive and non-exclusive. With exclusive franchise tags, the player cannot sign with any other teams. With non-exclusive franchise tags, the player can sign with another team, but the original team has a chance to match the offer. If it chooses not to, and the player signs with the other team, the original team gets two first-round draft picks. How many franchise and transition tags does each team get? Well, that depends on the terms of the new CBA. In other words, it's possible we will have to revisit where the Eagles stand with Vick and Akers down the road, depending on the new guidelines that are put into place. Another important aspect to consider is that the teams can still work on long-term deals with players after tagging them. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to Akers and take a look at how he stacks up against his peers. At the age of 36, and in his 11th full season as the Eagles' kicker, Akers hit 84.2 percent of his attempts. That number ranked 11th in the NFL and was the fifth-best of his career., Keeping in mind that some kickers have more attempts from longer distances than others, Football Outsiders had the Eagles' kicking game (field goals and extra points) ranked 10th. According to their metrics, the Birds were better than they've been at any time since 2004. Here's a chart of Akers' field-goal percentages on attempts of 40 yards or more:

How Akers stacks up

By now, you've probably heard that the Eagles have placed the transition tag on David Akers today.

Since I've received quite a few questions on Twitter about what that means, here goes:

* The Eagles agree to pay Akers the average salary of the top 10 punters and kickers for one season.
* Other teams can still try to sign Akers, but the Eagles have the right to match any offer.
* If they don't match an offer, and he signs elsewhere, the Eagles receive no compensation in the form of draft picks.

The franchise tag is different because it pays the average salary of the top five players. There are two types of franchise tags: exclusive and non-exclusive. With exclusive franchise tags, the player cannot sign with any other teams.

With non-exclusive franchise tags, the player can sign with another team, but the original team has a chance to match the offer. If it chooses not to, and the player signs with the other team, the original team gets two first-round draft picks.

How many franchise and transition tags does each team get? Well, that depends on the terms of the new CBA. In other words, it's possible we will have to revisit where the Eagles stand with Vick and Akers down the road, depending on the new guidelines that are put into place.

Another important aspect to consider is that the teams can still work on long-term deals with players after tagging them.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to Akers and take a look at how he stacks up against his peers.

At the age of 36, and in his 11th full season as the Eagles' kicker, Akers hit 84.2 percent of his attempts. That number ranked 11th in the NFL and was the fifth-best of his career.,

Keeping in mind that some kickers have more attempts from longer distances than others, Football Outsiders had the Eagles' kicking game (field goals and extra points) ranked 10th. According to their metrics, the Birds were better than they've been at any time since 2004.

Here's a chart of Akers' field-goal percentages on attempts of 40 yards or more:

Year
Pct. on 40+ attempts
2000
72.7%
2001
69.2%
2002
77.8%
2003
61.5%
2004
81.0%
2005
54.5%
2006
75.0%
2007
20.0%
2008
66.7%
2009
75.0%
2010
71.4%
Overall
67.3%


As you can see, Akers has been better than his career average the past two seasons on kicks of 40 yards or more. After a down period from 2005-2007 where he made just 14 of 29 attempts (48.3 percent), he's rebounded nicely.

The other aspect to look at is kickoffs. And in his 11th season as the Eagles' full-time kicker, Akers kicked more touchbacks than ever before. He had touchbacks on 24 percent of his kickoffs, eighth-best in the NFL.

Here's a chart of Akers' touchback percentages over the course of his career:

Year
Pct. of touchbacks
2000
5.0%
2001
8.9%
2002
11.2%
2003
9.6%
2004
14.0%
2005
8.6%
2006
13.3%
2007
7.7%
2008
19.1%
2009
11.7%
2010
24.0%
Overall
12.6%
More coverage
 
POLL: Will Nick Foles be an Eagle next season?
 
McLane: Eagles face plenty of quetions in offseason
 
Bowen: Eagles left searching for answers
 
VOTE: Is honeymoon over for Chip Kelly?
 
Stats It: Inside Eagles-Giants
 
VOTE: Who's to blame for the Eagles' defensive collapse?
 
Eagles report card: Submit your grades
 
WIN: Make picks in our weekly pro football contest
 
DOWNLOAD: Philly Pro Football app
 
FORUMS: Where do the Eagles need to improve the most?
 
Latest NFL odds
 
Buy Eagles jerseys and other gear


According to Football Outsiders, the Eagles' kickoff units ranked seventh in the NFL.

And finally, we have to look at Akers' playoff performance. You obviously know that Akers missed two field goals in the Eagles' loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. You probably also know that he was dealing with a family crisis at the time (as detailed in this column by Ashley Fox).

But overall, Akers' playoff numbers are almost identical to his regular-season numbers. In the regular season, he's hit on 81.9 percent of his field-goal attempts. In the playoffs, he's 31 for 38 (81.6 percent). Prior to the Packers' game, he had hit 18 of his previous 19 attempts in the postseason.

The bottom line is, statistically, he's probably not one of the best kickers in the NFL, but he's very good and is not showing signs of slowing down.


You can follow Moving the Chains on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.


Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for even more Birds coverage, including app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

Follow Sheil on Twitter. And become a fan of Moving the Chains on Facebook.

Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for even more Birds coverage, including app-exclusive videos and analysis. Download it here.

Reach Sheil at skapadia@philly.com.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected