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Poll: Did Bengals make right choice in re-signing punter Kevin Huber?

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He’s not coming cheap and could limit the Bengals’ ability to spend at other positions.

Cincinnati Bengals v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Bengals have re-signed punter Kevin Huber to a three-year deal.

Punters are often over-looked but are an important piece to any NFL team. But is the position important enough to spend more than $2.5 million per year on it?

Per Bengals.com, Huber’s salary cap hit for this season is “thought to be in the $2.5-3 million neighborhood.” The team website also reported that the Bengals only have $15 million to spend in free agency. It’s unclear if the Bengals’ acquisition of Cordy Glenn will factor into that $15 million number. But let’s just assume it won’t.

If Huber is getting paid $3 million, that means the Bengals have $12 million left to spend in free agency. Is that enough to make some meaningful moves that improve the roster? Could the Bengals have better spent that $3 million elsewhere? Maybe on a linebacker or guard or center (not named Russell Bodine)? The team is still looking to re-sign tight end Tyler Eifter, and reportedly Bodine, too.

So, was using 20 percent of the $15 million free agent budget on a punter a smart move? This year’s draft actually has a few highly talented punters who will be available on the cheap. And, the Bengals have 11 draft picks, which is more than enough to use one on a special teamer.

If my math is correct, factoring in Cordy Glenn’s cap hit of $11,250,000 and Chris Baker’s of $2,431,250, the Bengals have $25,663,921 in cap space remaining for 2018.

Let’s also assume the Bengals will still use money as Geoff Hobson dictated for the following things:

  • $7 million for 11 draft picks
  • $5 million for injuries and incentives
  • $2 million for players that get cut/dead money

That means the Bengals would have $11,663,921 left in cap space.

But, the team also wants to extend Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins to longer-term deals this offseason before both can hit free agency in 2019. You’d have to imagine that would eat into about $5-10 million, right?

So at that point, there would be between $2-7 million left to actually spend on Eifert, Bodine and any other free agent the team wants to sign.

That’s not going to work and the Bengals will need to make some cuts to create space — like the Steelers are doing — or restructure some players’ deals, or, it’ll be same old, same old and no free agents will be signed.

Now, let’s take a look at some of Huber’s numbers from the 2017 NFL season. Among all qualified punters, Huber finished:

  • 11th best in punting average (46.6)
  • 15th best for percentage of punts inside the opponents 20 yard line (36%)
  • 27th best for percentage of punts inside the opponents 10 yard line (8%)
  • 24th best for making punts unreturnable (45% of his punts were returned)

His punting average was slightly better than the league average (although only by one yard), but when one takes a deeper look at Huber’s numbers, they see the punters who had lower averages than Huber generally had a much higher rate of punts pinning opponents inside the 10 yard line, and a higher rate of un-returnable punts.

Huber is pretty much your average NFL punter. He’s not the best, not the worst but somewhere right in the middle of the pack. Is that worthy of a $2.5-3 million annual salary? That’s for you to decide in the poll below.

Poll

Did the Bengals make the right choice re-signing punter Kevin Huber?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    YES! We love Huber!
    (492 votes)
  • 25%
    Not if it stops them from signing other players.
    (183 votes)
  • 7%
    No. He should not have been re-signed.
    (55 votes)
730 votes total Vote Now

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