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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
History says no long-term deal for Nugent

By Jamison Hensley

After kicker Mike Nugent signed his franchise tender on Wednesday, the Bengals talked about the possibility of reaching a long-term deal with him.

Nugent
Cincinnati's history suggests that won't happen. As the Cincinnati Enquirer pointed out, the last three players who received the franchise tag from Cincinnati have left the following season. The last time the Bengals signed a franchise player to a long-term deal was running back Rudi Johnson in 2005.

You shouldn't fault the Bengals if they decide to play a waiting game with Nugent. It's probably in their best interest to let the July 15 deadline pass and see how Nugent fares for one more season.

By using the tag on Shayne Graham in 2009, the Bengals were able to part ways after he missed two field goals in a playoff loss against the New York Jets. There could also be a lesson learned from the Ravens rewarding Billy Cundiff after a Pro Bowl season. In his first season under the new deal, he missed 10 field goals including a critical one in the AFC championship game.

An argument can be made that Nugent deserves a long-term deal. He set Bengals' single-season records for points (132) and field goals (33). He also hit two game-winning field goals late in the fourth quarter (Week 4 vs. Buffalo and Week 12 vs. Cleveland).

But the Bengals have to be wary of how Nugent finished the season. He was the league's most accurate kicker until late in the season when he missed four field goals over the final three games.

Nugent shouldn't be upset with the franchise tag. His salary went from $685,000 in 2011 to $2.6 million this year. And, if Nugent repeats his success in 2012, the Bengals should reward him with a multi-year deal.