Saints agree to terms with K Wil Lutz on five-year contract

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Wil Lutz, Andrus Peat
(Photo: Parker Waters)

The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have agreed to terms with K Wil Lutz on a five-year contract. The announcement was made by Saints’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.

Lutz, 5-11, 184, comes off a standout 2018 season where he played in all 16 regular season games and drilled 28-of-30 field goal attempts (93.3%) and 52-of-53 extra point attempts for 136 total points. His field goal percentage ranked fifth in the NFL and his extra point total second. During the season Lutz connected on a club-record 26 consecutive field goal attempts. When he didn’t have an attempt in the regular season finale, he had a streak snapped of 36 consecutive games with a field goal, which ends as the second-longest streak in NFL history. The streak ran from 2016-18. Lutz also had a career-high 64 touchbacks on kickoffs, third in the NFL. In the postseason, he drilled five of six-field goal attempts (83.3%) and four-of-four extra point attempts for 19 total points, also nailing 9-of-11 kickoffs for touchbacks.

In his three-year NFL career, Lutz, who originally entered the NFL signing as an undrafted free agent with Baltimore out of Georgia State in 2016, prior to joining New Orleans at the start of the regular season, has played in 48 regular season games. He has made 87-of-100 career field goal attempts and 148-of-153 extra point attempts for 409 points, while also adding 171 touchbacks. During this period, Lutz’s 87 field goals rank fifth in the NFL, his 148 extra points first, 409 total points third and touchback total second. He ranks fourth in club record books in field goals and extra points and sixth in total points.

New Orleans Saints Kicker Wil Lutz
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

How did this deal come together?
“It’s been the regular ongoing talks. I’m a restricted free agent so it wasn’t too urgent, but obviously it happened this morning and here we are. It’s pretty exciting.”

Was it important to you to remain a Saint?
“Yes, it’s exciting. This is a team that took a shot in the dark on me from the start and I’m obviously excited that I have been able to back up Sean’s (Payton) decision to stick his neck out for me and, obviously you stay here and after the carousel that kind of came through here (before me). It is exciting and hopefully there are a few more of these to come.”

Why do you think everything came together for you so well last season?
“I got comfortable, we saw every year was a little better and when you’re working with the same unit you know what you’re going to get from the guys you’re working with, meaning Zach Wood and Thomas Morstead. We work so hard, we trust each other and I know when points are on the line that I know what I can expect from those two and it makes life a lot easier on me.”

How determined is this team to get back where you were last season?
“It’s hard obviously, it’s not going to just go away, but I think everyone’s excited to get back to work. You saw our resilience after the 2017 season and the way it ended. But I think everyone is just kind of ready to get back to work and give it another run.”

Do you think any of this was possible after being cut by the Ravens?
“Well obviously this is the ultimate goal for any athlete, is to reach your next contract and I never looked back after I signed. I just kind of kept my head down and kept working and if you do what you’re asked to do, this is what it leads to. I’m not going to sit here and say I’m shocked obviously, but it’s extremely gratifying and it’s an amazing opportunity for me.”

How happy were you to see also Chris Banjo and Craig Robertson returning?
“Yes, those are our two special teams core leaders. Craig’s our Captain, Chris is equally just as much a leader and then obviously we have Taysom (Hill) back. The whole gang’s back together and we’ll see how the other pieces fall going forward, but there’s no dropoff. We get to pick up right where we left off. It’s exciting.”

How much has your phone been blowing up in the last 20 minutes or half an hour after this announcment?
“I haven’t even looked because I don’t really want to know right now. I’m really just excited to call my family and talk to them. It’s obviously a life-changing opportunity, but that’s my first priority right now and we’ll worry about the rest later.”

How did you react to all the special team coaching changes this offseason?
“It’s part of the business. There’s a lot of turnover in this industry. I thought our staff before, obviously did a great job with our performance output and we had a great season and as a special teams unit, but I think when you have a guy like (Darren) Rizzi who’s able to come in and fill in a spot, with Mike (Westhoff) retiring, I think it’s something you can’t pass up. He’s one of the best in the business and I’m really excited to work with them (new staff).”

How did this process kind of play out and were you expecting a long-term deal?
“That’s kind of what agents are for, so it’s hard to say how the process played out. But I understand how the restricted free agency works. Obviously the end goal is to be here long-term, whether it was to be tendered or not. At the end of the day, I think both sides of this are happy. They got the long-term kicker and I get to be here long term and that was the primary goal and it happened and I don’t really care how it came about.”

How can you be better now moving forward?
“It’s not necessarily about being better. I just want to be able to continue to do what I’ve done here, 87% over three years is a pretty good number and obviously I want to improve on that, but it’s really about just keeping my head down and continue to work as hard as we’ve been working over the last three years and having someone like (Thomas) Morstead and Zach Wood being here. It’s a good opportunity to work with these guys and really just keep kind of putting the stepping stones together and just being steady as we can be.”

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