Cundiff agrees to $15 million contract

MOBILE, Ala. -- Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff is cashing in on his breakthrough season. Cundiff reached an agreement in principle on a five-year, $15 million contract after negotiations accelerated over the weekend between his agent and team officials. The veteran kicker has yet to sign the contract, but no last-minute snags are expected.

The Ravens were confident all along that they would be able to hold onto Cundiff.

"I think it'll come together," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said last week. "I think Billy really wants to be here. I know we're in negotiations with him right now, along with other guys. I'll be very surprised if something doesn't get done with Billy Cundiff, and I'll be disappointed, but I think it's going to happen." Cundiff replaced a struggling Steve Hauschka a year ago and solidified the Ravens' kicking situation.

He tied an NFL record with 40 touchbacks and connected on 26 of 29 field goals. He also converted all 39 of his extra points and was named to his first Pro Bowl. Cundiff played under a $1.01 million restricted tender last season, beating out former Pro Bowl kicker Shayne Graham during a training camp competition. Cundiff significantly upgraded his leg strength during the offseason, diligently working in the weight room.

Now, the former journeyman kicker has emerged as the Ravens' long-term answer in the kicking game. He's their first consistent kicker since the end of the Matt Stover era. One day after the Ravens' season ended in a 31-24 AFC division playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cundiff said that money wouldn't be the only factor. However, he emphasized that he was seeking market value.

And Cundiff wants punter and holder Sam Koch to bring him back.

"There's a lot of issues at play," Cundiff said. "Money isn't always the ultimate factor. What we're trying to establish is where do I fit in the kicker stack and we'd like to be compensated that way, nothing more nothing less. "I don't think what my agent will be asking for is unreasonable. We have everybody's best interest in mind. If I come back, I want to make sure Sam is coming back as well. Sam and I have great rapport." Koch averaged 43.6 yards per punt and placed 39 punts inside the 20-yard line. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate.

Koch was in contract talks with the Ravens following the 2008 season, but discussions stalled as the two sides couldn't agree on a deal. Team officials have informed Koch's agent that they want to retain him.

"We ended up trying to do some negotiations," Koch said. "We never came up to a conclusion. It was one of those things that wasn't meant to be. Now it's two years later, which is crazy. We're in a different position and we're not restricted any more.

"Absolutely I thought I went out there and helped the team as much as I possibly can. That's the ultimate goal. I thought I did that well. I hope to continue to do that here."

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