After a Pro Bowl season in 2010, the Ravens rewarded kicker Billy Cundiff with a five-year, $14.7 million contract extension.
But after a dip in accuracy and a costly playoff miss, they may be planning on how to use the savings by going with a cheaper option.
Cundiff said last night he was “shocked,” when undrafted rookie Justin Tucker took all the kicks in the Ravens’ win against Jacksonville.
“I’m a competitor,” Cundiff said, via the Baltimore Sun. “Anybody who would be OK with not playing — and there are situations where guys are beat up and want to rest — anytime you feel like you’re not getting reps, your competitive side comes out, and you feel like you want to be the one out there kicking.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it was more of an issue of seeing Tucker in a live situation, and Tucker impressed, making all his extra points and a pair of field goals (from 33 and 53 yards).
Pressed on whether there was anything to be read from Tucker doing all the work, Harbaugh replied: “We’ll see. We have to make some decisions here next week, and we’ll have to see how it goes.”
The Ravens have reason to explore their options.
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun calculates that the team would realize a net $1.2 million salary cap savings if they went with Tucker instead of Cundiff.
Such an outcome was unthinkable a year ago, but since signing the contract, Cundiff turned in his worst season since 2005, and missed a potential game-tying field goal late in the Ravens’ AFC Championship Game loss to the Patriots.
Those kind of kicks linger in the mind of decision-makers, and if they can save money to boot, it could mean Cundiff’s sitting for more than one night.