The Bengals wasted little time in getting kicker Randy Bullock re-signed to a two-year deal this offseason, making him the early favorite to open next season as the team’s starting kicker.
That’s because he’s the only kicker signed right now that has any NFL experience. However, Bullock’s new contract does not assure him of a job in 2017. According to Over The Cap, Bullock’s new deal has no guaranteed money, meaning the Bengals can cut him at any moment and not owe him a penny the rest of the year.
The deal includes a $775,000 salary for 2017 and $790,000 for 2018. Even if Bullock wins the job and keeps it for all of 2017, he can still be cut in 2018 with no penalty. This is a great deal for the Bengals since they have all of the control and no real risk in keeping the veteran.
Bullock spent Weeks 15-17 with the Bengals in the 2016 season and hit 5-of-6 field goals and 6-of-6 PATs, a far cry from the debacle that was Mike Nugent for the duration of the season.
Unfortunately for Bullock, the memory that everyone has of him in 2016 is of his crucial miss in Houston. With time expiring, Bullock had the chance to give Cincinnati an upset win over the eventual AFC South champion Texans, but, missed a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the game.
Despite that miss, the Bengals are willing to give Bullock another chance to become the primary kicker in 2017, mostly because of his veteran experience. He has played in 48 NFL games and is 83/102 on field goals (81.4%) and 97/101 (96%) on extra points.
“There’s going to be a competition. I don’t think that’s a secret to anybody,” Duke Tobin said last week of the Bengals’ situation at kicker. “We’re going to evaluate all the rookies. We’re going to continue to evaluate the free agent kickers and if we see opportunities for increased competition we’ll do that. I think Randy’s well aware of that, that this is a competition. He did enough with us to warrant being part of that competition.
For now, Bullock’s only competition is former soccer player Jonathan Brown, as those are the only two kickers currently on the roster. We should expect the Bengals to add at least one more kicker with a draft pick or via undrafted free agency, but for now, Bullock is the favorite to be the guy by default.