The Bengals have been blessed for the most part with the reliability of kicker Mike Nugent over the past two seasons. He set Bengals single-season records for points (132) and field goals (33) last season while his base salary last year was $685,000. Because of an injury-riddled past, the Bengals opted to use the franchise tag to make him prove he could keep up that consisnency both injury-wise and kicking-wise.
He’s currently converting 82.6% of his kicks this year, so kicking-wise he’s doing fine. However, he was absent from practice toady with a reported calf injury, and the team is concerned enough that they are bringing in free agent kicker Nate Kaeding in for a tryout on Thursday.
If Nugent is out for this week against the Dallas Cowboys and Kaeding is forced into duty, it wouldn’t be necessarily a downgrade, as he is the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history having made 87.0% of his attempts. So why is he a free agent? Kaeding was released in late October by the San Diego Chargers with a groin injury after playing his entire eight-year NFL career with the Chargers.