After completing a one-year franchise contract that paid him roughly $2.5 million in 2009, former Bengals place-kicker Shayne Graham decided to move on with his career. Since the moment he left town until this very second that you're reading this sentence, Graham has joined five teams; starting with the Baltimore Ravens and losing to incumbent Billy Cundiff. Graham played a single-game with the New York Giants in place of injured kicker Lawrence Tynes, converting all four PATs before signing with the New England Patriots to close out the 2010 season after kicker Stephen Gostkowski went down with an injury. Graham converted all 12 field goal attempts with the Patriots, though he missed two extra points. Graham signed with the Washington Redskins on August 1, 2011 to compete for the kicking job against Graham Gano; after missing two field goals during the opening preseason game against the Steelers, he was promptly cut. On August 23, 2011 Graham signed with the Dallas Cowboys.
Though his career has now become a journeyman's story in the NFL (mostly on the East Coast), Graham's accomplishments in Cincinnati should be remembered. Second in franchise history with 177 field goals, second with 248 points after touchdowns and the single-season field goal scorer, converting 31 field goals in 2007. Jim Breech and Doug Pelfrey were the only other Bengals place kickers to convert 13 consecutive field goals during their careers in Cincinnati; Graham did it three times with 21 made in 2007 (by far a franchise best). And if that's not enough, Graham's 86.8% conversion during his Bengals career dominates the franchise record by almost 10 point; Graham also owns the top five seasons in franchise history, with a 91.2% conversion in 2007.
But it was time for him to leave, notably after missing two field goals during the team's 2009 loss playoff loss to the New York Jets.
The Bengals answered with Mike Nugent, who converted 78.9% of his field goals through nine games in 2010 before suffering a major knee injury against the Indianapolis Colts that ended his season. Through a long rehabilitation process, hampered with a lockout that prevented team trainers from working out with Nugent, the team's place kicker has completed a difficult journey back to the field. Through three preseason games, Nugent has converted two of three field goal attempts including a 55-yarder that would have tied Chris Bahr's regular season record for longest field goal in franchise history.
Scout, Inc. ranks Nugent as the league's 27th best place kicker with Shayne Graham coming in at 14th.