Saints lock up one of NFL's top punters with Thomas Morstead extension

METAIRIE, La. -- For the second time this week, the New Orleans Saints locked up one of the NFL’s elite players at his position to a long-term extension.

On Tuesday it was quarterback Drew Brees. On Friday it was punter Thomas Morstead, who announced on Twitter that he had signed a five-year extension heading into the last year of his current contract:

Not only will the deal keep the Saints on solid footing at punter for years to come, it will likely create some short-term salary-cap relief.

Morstead was scheduled to earn $4.15 million in salary and bonuses this year, with the highest salary-cap figure of any punter in the NFL ($4.85 million). The details of his new deal have not yet been released.

Morstead, who turned 32 last week, has flown a bit more under the radar than Brees during his nine-year career. But they are now the two longest-tenured players on the team. And both of them have mastered their positions as well as anyone in the game today.

Morstead has made the Pro Bowl just once (in 2012), though the analytical service Pro Football Focus just recognized him as its first-team All-Pro punter in 2017. Morstead’s career averages of 47.0 yards per punt and 41.4 net yards per punt both rank among the best in NFL history.

Morstead is also a former Saints Man of the Year selection who became nationally recognized for his community work earlier this year when Minnesota Vikings fans began a campaign to donate to his charity out of respect for his effort in New Orleans’ playoff loss at Minnesota.