Not that it wasn’t frustrating, and the process was indeed difficult, but Scobee said he had hope throughout the offseason he eventually would do what he did Monday afternoon when he signed a long-term contract extension to remain the Jaguars’ kicker.
Scobee said the extension was for four years.
“I’m an optimist, so I always thought this day would come,” Scobee said.
Scobee, designated the “franchise player” by the Jaguars just before free agency began in March, signed his extension shortly before the NFL’s deadline of 4 p.m. Monday affecting players with the franchise tag.
“There were certain times I had my doubts, but I always thought this would happen,” Scobee said. “I know the people on the front office. They’re good people. They have to protect their interests when it comes to the finances of this team. I understand that.
“I have to protect myself as an independent contractor and look out for myself and try to get as much out of it in the short amount of time I might play, because you don’t know how long you’re going to play. Unfortunately, on both sides it has to be ruthless.
“In the long run, it worked out and hopefully, I’ll be here a long time.”
Had the Monday deadline passed without Scobee signing the extension, he could have played the season for $2.88 million, the one-year salary for franchised kickers. Yet, under that scenario, the Jaguars and Scobee would have been unable to negotiate a long-term deal until after the 2012 season.
“It got done right before the deadline – I figured that’s maybe the way it was going to happen,” Scobee said.
Scobee, a fifth-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2004 NFL Draft, in eight seasons with the team has developed into one of its most popular, productive players. He also is one of the NFL’s top clutch kickers, seven times converting game-winning field goals.
“This was an opportunity to reward one of our own who has performed well on and off the field,” Jaguars General Manager Gene Smith said. “Josh is still relatively young for a kicker and certainly coming into the prime of his career.
“With the competitive balance that exists in the NFL it is imperative that you have quality specialists, and with Josh, (punter) Bryan (Anger) and (long snapper) Jeremy (Cain) we feel strongly that we have three guys who can give us a competitive advantage in the special teams phase.”
Scobee has converted 167 of 212 career field goals (77.4 pct.) and 254 of 257 extra points, and with 755 career points, he has a chance to break Mike Hollis’ team-record 764 points this season. In 2011, he converted a career-best 23 of 25 field goals and 24 of 24 extra points, converting on five of six field goals from more than 50 yards.
Scobee’s 2011 season came in the wake of a lockout that prevented players from working with the team during the offseason. Scobee said he took a similar approach this offseason while he stayed away from the team because of his contract situation, working with Fountain Hills, Ariz.-based kicking coach Gary Zauner for a third consecutive offseason.
“You always try to build on certain things you might have done that you thought helped,” Scobee said. “I took that initiative and did the same thing this offseason.”
Scobee said his contract situation made this offseason difficult. He said at times he encouraged his wife, Melissa, not to read some things written about him. He also said in any negotiation there are tough times between the negotiating parties.
“You can’t have hard feelings when it comes to stuff like this,” he said. “It’s a business and you can’t bank on there being any loyalty. You can hope for it, but you can’t bank on it. That’s one thing I had to think about during the entire process.
“I’m not a very patient person when it comes to everything else in life. This process, hopefully will teach me some patience. I think it has, and hopefully that will help me out in the long run.”
Scobee at one point during negotiations said if he had to play under the franchise tag it could potentially hurt his performance. On Monday, he said he regretted making that statement.
“I don’t ever think like that,” he said. “I wasn’t going to tank the season by any means.”
While Scobee remained hopeful the Monday deadline could produce a deal, he said it wasn’t until Sunday that he felt a deal was imminent. He was in Louisiana with his family at the time, and his agent suggested he return to Jacksonville.
“I had a pretty good feeling it was going to get done,” he said.
And he said that feeling was particularly good for a simple reason – that what was happening was what he hoped for all along.
“If you get into the NFL, you want to stay with that same team for as long as you can,” Scobee said. “Fortunately for me, I came to a place my rookie year that I love. I love the city. I love everything about it. I’m in a good place. There’s no guarantee I’ll be here four years, but the possibility is there – and hopefully, more after that. I’d love to be here my entire career.
“Now, it’s just a matter of showing up, doing my job on the field and staying healthy.”