The New England Patriots punting competition must have been financially-driven from the start, which means that Ryan Allen would have had to flop in order to lose the punting job to Zoltan Mesko. While Mesko seemingly outplayed the Louisiana Tech UDFA this preseason, Ryan Allen has won the punting job over the incumbent, according to multiple reports. This competition was one of the best position battles on the Patriots roster, and that says something about the quality of both punters. Mesko’s performance in Week 2 seemed to signal that he clearly had the inside track, and he also outplayed Allen in Week 3. But Allen was just a bit better than Mesko on Thursday night (both players were terrific), and the Patriots have decided to save some cash and go with Allen.
Both of these punters are easily starting caliber punters in this league, so Zoltan Mesko should be able to find a job with relative ease. He’s one of the most accurate punters in the league, and his ability to get a lot of hang time on his punts is definitely impressive. However, Mesko had just one year left on his deal, and he was set to make $1.323 million, and that’s a lot of money for a punter. Contrast that with Allen’s income, which was set at about a third of Mesko’s pay, and it’s clear that the Patriots planned on going with Allen as long as he kept things competitive.
Ryan Allen was the best punter in college football for the past two seasons, and he earned two Ray Guy awards to prove it. The fact that he has won isn’t a surprise, but I will definitely admit that I had Mesko winning following his convincing “victories” over Allen in weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason. But also believed that Allen was too good to release and had him on the practice squad, but it looks like the Patriots really wanted to save money. This was a great spot to save cash, too, as Allen certainly isn’t far off from Mesko in terms of punting ability right now (he holds an advantage over Mesko with a stronger leg).