Sunday, March 10, 2013
Bengals stick with Nugent as their kicker
By Jamison Hensley
One of the big decisions for the Bengals this offseason was kicker. They apparently made their choice Sunday, when they reached an agreement with Mike Nugent.
According to the team's official website, the Bengals will sign Nugent to a two-year deal. It will officially be announced Monday.
The Bengals chose Nugent over Josh Brown, a decision that may come as a mild surprise because Brown was one of the Bengals' late-season heroes. I'm sure the Bengals' comfort level with Nugent, who has been with the team for three seasons, over Brown, who was with the team for five weeks, played a factor.
Nugent, 31, had one of the best seasons ever for a Bengals kicker in 2011, when he set team single-season records for points (132) and field goals (33). After getting the franchise tag last year, he wasn't as effective, making 19 of 23 field goals. His conversion rate (82.6 percent) ranked 20th in the NFL.
The biggest concern with Nugent is durability. He has finished two of the past three seasons on injured reserve.
Brown, who will turn 34 next month, was signed by Cincinnati in December when Nugent injured his right calf practicing an onside kick. Brown converted 11 of 12 field goals (91.7 percent), with his only miss coming on a desperation 56-yarder in Pittsburgh. His 43-yard field goal with four seconds left on Dec. 23 in Pittsburgh clinched a playoff berth for Cincinnati.
This was obviously a close call. Since Nugent came to the Bengals in 2010, he has connected on 67 of 80 field goals (83.7 percent). Over that same three-year period, Brown was 65 of 79 (82.2 percent).
It's apparent that special teams was a focus for the Bengals. The agreement with Nugent comes two days after the team signed punter Kevin Huber and long snapper Clark Harris to five-year contracts.