#5 Punter Zoltan Mesko:
The punter with the first name that evokes the Ashton Kutcher-Seann William Scott movie “Dude, Where’s My Car?” is the final player that has significant scrutiny due to his contract situation. The Patriots brought in fellow left-footed punter Ryan Allen, a two-time Ray Guy Award winner at Louisiana Tech, as an undrafted free agent to compete with Mesko. The big advantage Ryan Allen has over Mesko is that he costs one-third as much as Mesko in the final year of his contract.
Being in the last year of his rookie contract also works against punter Zoltan Mesko as he has less than $50,000 in dead money if he is released and frees up $1.3 million in cap space. Although Mesko did a great job in his three years in New England, punter is one of the least important positions on the roster as he just does not get the opportunity to punt as much other punters around the league with less consistent and high scoring offenses.
If Ryan Allen looks in any way impressive in the preseason, it could punch the ticket out of town for the popular former Michigan punter. Mesko will have a battle holding off the talented Allen, and regardless of who is kept, the other will likely have little difficulty finding work this season. Both are talented, left-footed (an important consideration for coach Bill Belichick) and not very expensive to keep. Despite Mesko’s popularity, he could be trimmed from the roster come cut-down time.