Marquette King’s right leg can be confused with a cannon. Raw punting power was certainly a main reason why the Raiders signed the undrafted free agent out of Fort Valley State, and vast potential gave him an NFL starting gig in 2013.
He was all power and no polish back then, someone trying to sail it as far and deep as humanly possible. That’s some slight hyperbole, but the contrast between King now and then is drastic.
He’s developed accuracy and techniques allowing him to control for field position. Touchbacks are a punter’s nemesis, and King has cut them down from 11 in his first season to seven combined over the last two.
King dropped 40 punts inside the 20-yard line, nearly half of his 83 total.
Newfound precision made King a commodity for the Raiders, who signed him to a five-year, $16.5 million contract. A source confirmed those details to CSNCalifornia.com on Monday. NFL Network reports the deal features $7.75 million guaranteed and $10.75 million over the first three seasons.
King honed his craft in the weight room and on the practice field, working on putting a football into a small space.
“When I first came in, the only thing I did have was a driver,” King said in a conference call. “Even when I play golf, all I want to do is drive the ball as far as I can. When I got better with the punting deal, I was focused on punting the ball in the trash cans in the corner of the field with just aim. … Constantly doing little drills like that, walking around the field dropping the ball on the lines and doing it to the point to where I just got exhausted and got tired and aggravated is what helped it become second nature. … That’s how I got better.”
King worked tirelessly on his craft, and earned the opportunity to sign a long-term deal that could make him the Raiders punter for eight straight seasons. He’s excited about enhanced security, but insists it won’t change his work ethic one bit.
This marks a big day for player and team, one that both sides were expected would come with unrestricted free agency looming.
“I had a feeling that everything was going to work out,” King said. “I don’t usually stress about much.”