Ravens close to locking up Cundiff long-term

The Ravens have their kicker, and they don't want to let him go.

According to reports, the first of which came from ESPN, Baltimore is closing in on a five-year, $15 million contract with kicker Billy Cundiff.

The deal is not finalized yet, but it's expected to be signed sometime this week.

The contract is well-deserved for Cundiff, who made the Pro Bowl this season and gave the Ravens stability at the kicking position after a year of Steve Hauschka craziness.

"I think it'll come together," head coach John Harbaugh said last week. "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."

This season, Cundiff beat out Shayne Graham for the job in training camp, and never looked back. He tied the NFL record for most touchbacks in a single season with 40, connected on 26-of-29 field goal attempts, and made all 39 of his extra points.

Cundiff played this season under a restricted free agent tender of $1.01 million, so the contract represents a significant raise for the six-year veteran.

It also will provide some stability after years of Cundiff bouncing from team to team, trying out and hoping to win a job.

He had signed 14 NFL contracts prior to this one, been out of work for two years from 2007-08, and showed up to training camp this season as the underdog to stick around with the Ravens.

Now, after a career year, he'll have a five-year contract and a much larger bank account.

Good for him.

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