Posted: 3:25 p.m.
Bengals kicker Shayne Graham signed his $2.5 million one-year franchise tender Thursday, indicating he'll be joining the team for offseason workouts.
Graham issued a press release when the Bengals designated him their franchise free agent instead of doing interviews back in February and didn't participate in the first month of offseason conditioning. But now that he's signed, the contract, which is the average of the top five paid kickers in the NFL, is guaranteed. The club has until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with him that can count in the '09 salary cap.
"We're happy Shayne is signed in advance of our offseason camps," said head coach Marvin Lewis in a press release, "and this does not preclude our continuing to talk to Shayne and his representatives about reaching a longer-term agreement."
Graham, fourth all-time in the NFL for field goal accuracy at 85.6 percent, has set several club records during his six seasons in Cincinnati. In addition to being the accuracy leader, he holds the most points in a season (131), field goals in a season (31), field goals in a game (seven) and consecutive field goals made (21).
In his February statement, Graham said he would have "preferred a long-term deal here or elsewhere."
"I will be committed to helping the Bengals win football games in the 2009 season. I truly appreciate the support of my teammates and the great fans of Cincinnati," he said.
And he has done a lot for the fans. His "Kicks for Kids" program assists at-risk children in Greater Cincinnati, and he has been a board member of the Cincinnati FreestoreFoodbank. Last season he helped organize the nation's most successful "Taste of the NFL" event, raising more than $170,000 for meals for the hungry.