Shayne Graham recently signed a deal with the Baltimore Ravens. If he wins the job, he will receive a base salary of $1.5 million with an extra million in incentives. He did not get a signing bonus and must make at least 85 percent of his field goals to cash in on the incentives.
Graham did a lot for charities during his time in Cincinnati. He was a great regular season kicker for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Here is why the Bengals fans will not miss Shayne Graham.
Graham has choked in big games. When his number was called in a big game, he typically did not come through.
He didn't exactly cost them a playoff game but leaving three points on the field changes the game. His two misses in the playoff game against the Jets left them with little chance in the fourth quarter. His first miss would have made the score 14-10. Instead, the Jets scored after the miss and went ahead 21-7. His second miss happened when Cincinnati was down 24-14. If he had connected there, it would have been a one possession game. This changed everything for the Jets offense. So, they lost by more than his six points but those six could have put them in a position to win.
His kickoffs were average at best. The percentage of his kickoffs to go into the end zone was fifth lowest in the AFC in 2009. Graham was never able to consistently put the ball past the ten yard line.
Graham turned down a deal that would have paid him among the top-five kickers in the game. The Bengals offered him more money than he made last year and met his demands for a multi-year deal. He turned it down over a couple hundred thousand. Now he's on a one year deal, he is not guaranteed a job, and has to make at least 85 percent of his kicks in order to make a tad more than he made last year. This does not sound like a guy who wants to be a Cincinnati Bengal.
Here is what Marvin Lewis said:
"He had an opportunity to come back here and regain what he had here," Lewis told Cincinnati reporters.
"Unfortunately he has the demons of the last kicks here when he didn’t make them. He’s got to overcome those demons and whether he could come back to this locker room and overcome them. That’s what the fans remember around here is the kicks that he missed. I wish him good luck."
We hear all the time how he is still one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. Take a look at last year, though. In 2009, he only made 82.1 percent of his field goals. That percentage ranked him 20th in the NFL. He was better in the first half than the second by percentage and he hit only 67 percent of his kicks when the game was tied.
Graham was going to have a hard time overcoming his poor 2009 season.
Graham will have his chances against the Bengals this year. He may even kick a game winner. That does not mean the decision should be second guessed. If it isn't him making the kick, it would be another kicker.
The Bengals will be a better team in 2010. They need to handle their own business and assure that a field goal will not make a difference in the outcome of the game.
Do you think Shayne Graham will be missed? While thinking about that, check out these other Bengals articles:
This article reviews the top unrestricted free agent signings by the Bengals.
This article looks at Carson Palmer's career and why he hasn't gotten a playoff win.
This article gives five reasons why the Bengals should sign JaMarcus Russell.
This article gives five reasons why the Bengals signed Adam "Pacman" Jones.
This article asks some questions about the Bengals draft.
This article wonders whether Marvin Lewis should be signed to an extension.
This article questions the Antonio Bryant signing.
This article debates the Matt Jones pickup.
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