The Ravens signed Sam Koch to a five-year, $16.25 million contract extension Thursday, a deal that keeps the veteran punter from entering unrestricted free agency next year.
The deal has a $4 million signing bonus and a total of $7.3 million guaranteed, which boosts the total value of his contract to $18.75 million over the next six years. It should allow Koch to complete his career with the Ravens; he is under contract through the 2020 season.
Koch probably could have commanded even more money on the open market but instead chose to remain with the only NFL team he has played for.
"It was always in the back of my mind that the last thing I wanted to do was test free agency, because I didn't want to have the possibility to leave this place," Koch told The Baltimore Sun in a telephone interview Thursday night. "You have a top-notch organization here, including the staff. To have the opportunity to stay here, I told [Ravens senior vice president of football administration] Pat Moriarty: 'It's not about the money; it's about the chance to have my family rooted here.'
"The money is great, but that's three, four points down the road. To get this done and have my family stay in the same schools, it was definitely a win-win situation."
Koch's deal, negotiated by Atlanta-based agent Steve Mudder, averages $3.25 million per year in new money. Koch was heading into the final year of a five-year, $12.516 million deal signed in 2011 that included $3 million guaranteed.
Koch is coming off a career-best season in which he averaged 47.4 yards per punt and a league-best 43.3 net yards. Both were career highs and single-season franchise records, but Koch was snubbed for the Pro Bowl despite ranking first in fan balloting.
A 2006 sixth-round draft pick from Nebraska, Koch, 32, has averaged 45 yards per punt over nine NFL seasons. He consistently has drawn praise for his directional punting, hang time and poise as the Ravens' holder for Pro Bowl kickers Justin Tucker, Billy Cundiff and Matt Stover.
Koch has been extremely consistent in his career, averaging 47.4, 46.0, 47.1 and 46.5 yards per punt over the past four seasons under special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg and coach John Harbaugh.
"That's what I strive for year in and year out," Koch said. "Sometimes situations are unpredictable as far as stats, but my No. 1 goal is every year is to be as consistent as I can and make our punt team the best out there. When you have the greatest special teams coach in Jerry Rosburg, it makes my job easy."
By signing Koch at this stage of the offseason, the Ravens have one less negotiation to handle.
Between now and the start of free agency in March 2016, when the new league year begins, the Ravens are expected to try to restructure quarterback Joe Flacco's $120.6 million contract to lower a $28.5 million salary cap figure for 2016.
The Ravens also have several key pending free agents they'll attempt to retain, including a new deal for Pro Bowl offensive right guard Marshal Yanda, left guard Kelechi Osemele, outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and Tucker.
Koch, who grew up in Seward, Neb., lives in Westminster with his wife and children.
"Living here is kind of like being out in Nebraska with the cornfields, and it resembles home so much," Koch said. "To be able to stay out here means a lot to my family and my wife and kids. They give me great support, and they love this community.
"The last thing I would want to do is pull my son out of school. Our owner, Steve Bisciotti, takes great care of us. It's a first-class organization."