The total yards that a punt gains for a certain team after the return is factored in. A team with a good net average is maximizing the value of its punter by limiting the other team's ability to return the football for extra yards. Another element to net average is touchbacks. A touchback subtracts 20 yards from a team's net average because a ball kicked into the end zone is brought out to the 20-yard line and not started in the end zone itself.
Net average is one of the most accurate indicators of how a team is adjusting field position using the punt team. While a kicker may be able to kick the ball quite far, the net average measures the amount that the team returns the ball as well. Long punts are only beneficial if they do not set the other team up for a good return that eliminates the extra distance that the punter punted the ball. Net average also helps measure how effective a punter is at pinning a team deep rather than just kicking the ball out of the end zone.