Sports Outside the Beltway

Cincinnati Bengals ‘franchise’ placekicker Shayne Graham

He is the 4th most accurate kicker in NFL history. From ESPN-

The Cincinnati Bengals have used their designated franchise tag, and it’s not on the player some expected.

On Monday, the team tagged kicker Shayne Graham for the 2009 season. Graham will be paid $2.483 million, the average salary of the top five kickers in the NFL from the previous season to remain in a Bengal uniform.

“Shayne has consistently performed at a high level for us, and we expect that same performance in 2009 and hopefully beyond,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. “We’ll continue to speak with Shayne and his representatives about signing a longer-term deal.”

Graham ranks fourth all-time in NFL field-goal accuracy at 85.6 in nine seasons. He would be allowed to negotiate with other teams, but that club would face the unlikely scenario of giving up first-round draft choices in 2009 and 2010.

If a placekicker is a team’s most valuable property, that says volumes about the rest of the team. The Bengals went 4-11-1 last year and only the most optimistic of souls will pick them to win more than 6 games in 2009.

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