Gostkowski Gets His Reward

FOXBORO -- Patriots quietly lock up their kicker for the long haul. Team extends contract of Stephen Gostkowski.

PK Stephen Gostkowski has arguably been the most under-the-radar replacement of sports legend in New England history, and now he'll get a chance to keep putting distance between himself and his predecessor. The Patriots signed Gostkowski to a four-year extension on Wednesday.

Reports on Wednesday surfaced that Gostkowski had reached a new deal with the Patriots. According to the Boston Herald, It's a four-year deal worth approximately $14 million. The new deal includes about $5 million in guarantees according to multiple reports.

Gostkowski, a fourth round pick in the 2006 NFL Draft, was pegged to replace Patriot legend Adam Vinatieri when the team wasn't able to re-sign their historic kicker. Gostkowski, a little known kicker out of Memphis, has not only filled in for Vinatieri, but actually taken a step beyond his predecessor. Though the youngster has yet to kick a 45-yarder in a driving snowstorm to earn Vinatieri's historic reputation, Gostkowski just keeps getting his through the uprights. He has become the Patriots' most accurate kicker in franchise history, converting 103 of 121 field goal attempts for an 85.1 accuracy.

Playing under the $1.759 million restricted free agent tender he signed before reporting to camp, Gostkowski quietly went about his new deal much the way he's gone about his career – putting his head down, focusing on his job and letting the rest take care of itself. With contract squabbles and attention being paid to the bigger names on the roster, the Patriots found a way to take care of one of the team's most important assets, the kicker.

Gostkowski has one Pro Bowl honor to his credit (2008), and was named AP All Pro first team. He has scored over 100 points each of the past four seasons, and with the help of Tom Brady and co., holds the NFL single season record of 74 successful PAT kicks (2007).

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