Out of all the free agents the Bengals have un-signed as of now, Nugent by far has had the most impact of any of them. He will now be paid a mere $2.6 million by a team that is $60 million under the salary cap, so the Bengals still have plenty of money to spare. the Nuge has proven he’s worth that amount per year after two solid seasons with the Bengals He made a franchise-record 33/38 field goals last season while also setting a Bengals single-season scoring record 132 points. Nugent also greatly affected field position, as he reached the end zone on 67/80 kickoffs with 36 being touchbacks.
His greatest impact was his ability to make kicks when the game was on the line. Last year he was as clutch in the 4th-quarter of games as any other NFL kicker. In a season in which the Bengals won nine games and needed every last one to make the playoffs, Nugent had two game-winning. The first being Week 4 vs.Buffalo after the Bengals had lost two-straight and were staring down the barrel of a 1-3 start in which the team may have lost confidence and likely finished below .500 on the year. Instead, he buried the Bills and sent them into a tailspin that saw them lose 10 of their next 13 games after starting 3-0. My how one kick can alter an NFL season. Nugent saved the Bengals season again in Week 12 vs.Clevelandafter the Bengals had again lost two-straight and were fighting for a playoff-berth. After Cleveland kicker Phil Dawson missed a potential game-winning field goal (who by the way also was given the franchise tag), the Nuge came out and downed the Browns to keep the team’s slim playoff hopes alive. His two GW kicks ended up being the difference between a winning season with a playoff berth, and another losing season and an offseason full of questions. He clearly was the most deserving of the franchise tag.