After the 2010 season, the Baltimore Ravens rewarded placekicker Billy Cundiff with a five-year, $15 million deal. He then promptly went out and reverted to his career average by only connecting on 75% of his field goal attempts and missing the most important one that would have tied the AFC Championship Game in the closing seconds but instead hooked it wide to the left.
Was Cundiff's disappointing 2011-12 season the exception or the norm? Looking at his career statistics, it would appear that his Pro Bowl 2010 season was the abnormality, but the Ravens were obviously banking on the opposite, hoping he was on the track to a solid, long career with the team.
The team brought in placekicker Shayne Graham for a joke of a competition in last summer's Training Camp and Graham even took over kicking duties while Cundiff missed game in the 2011 regular season. Now the Ravens have signed undrafted free agent kicker Justin Tucker (Texas), according to Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times.
Tucker connected on 40 of48 field goal kicks (83%) in his final two seasons combined for the Longhorns and even had a "secret" audition with the team prior to the draft. He also punted for Texas, averaging a bit over 40 yards a punt. His college claim-to-fame was a 40-yard pressure kick for the game winner vs. arch-rival Texas A&M.
Will Tucker truly get a legitimate chance to unseat the incumbent Cundiff for the Ravens placekicking position or is this just a way to keep Billy on his toes and give him another shot to earn what is a pretty significant salary for a placekicker in the NFL?