Franchise tag deadline passes

Posted Jul 15, 2009

Posted: 7 p.m.

The end of business came and went Wednesday, but with no long-term deal in place for Shayne Graham that doesn't mean it is the end of the story.

With July 15 now basically gone without a multi-year contract, Graham is going to get the $2.5 million franchise player deal for one year and the Bengals won't be able to negotiate with him until after the season.

But they could tag him again with the franchise designation next February. They've never franchised the same player two years in a row, but they've also never franchised a kicker. The increase in the one-year franchise tender wouldn't be a killer, with a kick to about $3 million for 2010.

Plus, the Bengals don't have a looming young franchise player to sign after the season. And if the rules kick in to govern a no salary cap year in '10, teams get to tag two of their own free agents instead of one.

Graham said last week his agent had been talking to the Bengals and indications were Rob Roche talked to the club as late as Tuesday. They were talking amid the backdrop of the Titans' Rob Bironas getting a four-year, $12 million contract back in January and the Texans' Kris Brown just extending a few weeks ago for a reported $10 million over four years.

Graham (85.6 percent) and Bironas (84.5 percent) are about even in field-goal percentage but Bironas has a big edge in touchbacks. Last season it was 22-9. Brown had eight touchbacks in '08, but Graham has the edge in career percentage at 78.6.

Roche couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday and Graham has said he won't elaborate on his contract status. On Wednesday at the Fairfield Mercy HealthPlex, Graham unveiled his foundation's plan to help former NFL players and coaches in the Greater Cincinnati area stay healthy with free screenings, coaching, and health club memberships.

"There hasn't been any progress since (last year)," said Graham of the talks last week. "But I've given up making predictions. I never thought I'd be the franchise player. But it will work itself out. I'm focused on the events we've got coming up and then training camp. I'm looking forward to helping our team turn it around and continue to feed off the excitement that's been going on around here."


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