The Bengals have finally put an end to Mike Nugent's time in Cincinnati.
While Nugent was simply trying to do his job (albeit, often not well), the Bengals were fools for continuing to let their embattled kicker continue to be employed, through the rough patches he's endured, without even a hint of competition for years.
Instead, they allowed Nugent to keep missing kicks and keep costing the Bengals points. That’s over now. The team terminated Nugent's contract on Tuesday in order to sign Randy Bullock off of waivers.
Bullock was actually with the Steelers the past two weeks while giving them depth as Chris Boswell was injured. The fifth-year pro has played in 45 NFL games, making 78 of 96 field-goal attempts (81.3 percent) and 91 of 95 PATs (95.8 percent).
It's safe to say cutting Nugent was the right move, but was Bullock the right guy to replace him with? Other kickers on the market include Garrett Hartley, a veteran who's made plenty of big kicks in his career. Zach Hocker is still out there, and he actually spent the 2016 offseason with the Bengals. He was released before final cuts in September. If not for an injury, he may have had a better showing in camp and the preseason.
But the best kicker on the market is probably Travis Coons, who kicked 28 field goals in the 2015 season, which is the fourth-most in a single season in Browns history, behind Phil Dawson (30 in 2008, 29 in 2012) and Matt Stover (29 in 1995).
The Browns ended up waiving Coons during final cuts this season, even though he missed just four field goals and two extra points last year as a first-year player. He’s young, has experienced, and did well in a horrible situation last year, so maybe the Bengals should have given him a shot instead.
There's also a slew of recent college graduates who are waiting for their NFL shot at kicker, including Ross Martin, who our own Cody Tewmey interviewed two weeks ago.
With three weeks left in the season, the timing also seems odd. Yes, Nugent missed a field goal and extra point in Week 14, but, the extra point wasn't actually his fault. That followed plenty of missed extra points that were his fault. Any of those could have paved the way for the Bengals to cut Nugent sooner and try out another option for a longer period of time. It's not like the Bengals could really rely on Nugent anyway.
What say you Bengals fans?