Ravens control kicker market

OWINGS MILLS – Veteran kicker Jay Feely signed with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, a free agent transaction that could create an advantageous bargaining position for the Baltimore Ravens. With the Cardinals no longer in the market for a kicker, Feely's arrival ended the Neil Rackers era in Arizona.

Now, the Ravens can choose between the remaining top two available kickers: Rackers or Shayne Graham.

Plus, they'll likely be able to dictate the price for each player because there aren't any apparent starting kicker jobs available around the league. The Ravens, including coach John Harbaugh, general manager Ozzie Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti, met with Graham and his agent at the annual NFL owners meetings last month in Orlando, Fla.

They have spoken with Rackers and remained in contact with him this week, but have displayed more interest in Graham at this point.

The Ravens are hoping to find someone to compete with incumbent Billy Cundiff, a restricted free agent signed to a one-year, $1.1 million tender.

"We're going to bring the very best kicker on board that we can," Harbaugh said during the owners meetings. "It's not that we don't think Billy can do it, because I'm confident that Billy can do it. We're not averse to bringing in competition and letting guys battle it out. If we're able to do that, we're going to do that."

The Cincinnati Bengals signed Dave Rayner during the offseason and are regarded as unlikely to re-sign Graham.

Graham, 32, missed a pair of field goals during the Bengals' playoff loss to the New York Jets and hit just 23 of 28 field goals last season while dealing with poor long snapping.

He has connected on 85.2 percent of his career attempts, and is the fourth-most accurate kicker in league history.

"We like Shayne Graham a lot," Harbaugh said. "Shayne's a guy the Ravens have gone against and he's made a lot of field goals against the Ravens. Shayne's a guy who's a highly sought after guy, too. He's had a lot of success.

"Obviously, they had some operational issues last year that hurt him a little bit, but he's a hard worker and I think he's determined to prove himself again. I know he knows the kind of kicker he is. He would be an interesting possibility."

The Bengals' level of interest in Rackers remains unclear at this point.

Rackers, 33, has hit 78.2 percent of his kicks and has a strong leg, but missed a 34-yard try in the final seconds of an overtime playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.

He also missed two games with a groin injury to end last season.


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