For well over a decade, the Ravens could go into the offseason knowing there was one position they didn't need to worry about.
The last two offseasons have been a little different.
With Matt Stover's tenure in Baltimore now clearly in the past, the Ravens have spent the last calendar year in search of their new kicker.
Things might not have gone as smoothly as the Baltimore brass would have hoped the first time around, but they're kicking the tires this offseason in hopes of securing the kicking position for the 2010 season.
The Ravens ended 2009 with Billy Cundiff as their kicker, and they'll likely have the restricted free agent around this training camp as well. There are other options out there as well, however, and the Ravens have reportedly talked with two of the more proven guys on the market in Shayne Graham and Neil Rackers.
Interested in how Cundiff, Graham and Rackers match-up statistically? Here are the 2009 and career stats for those three guys (Cundiff's 2009 stats include games with Browns and postseason numbers with Ravens):
2009: 14 games...21-of-26 (80.7%)...Long of 46...3-of-5 (60%) from 40+
Career: 70 games...78-of-106 (73.6%)...Long of 56...24-of-43 (55.8%) from 40+
2009: 16 games...23-of-28 (82.1%)...Long of 53...5-of-7 (71.4%) from 40+
Career: 127 games...196-of-230 (85.2%)...Long of 53...62-of-84 (73.8%) from 40+
2009: 14 games...16-of-17 (94.1%)...Long of 48...6-of-7 (85.7%) from 40+
Career: 148 games...205-of-262 (78.2%)...Long of 55...74-of-113 (65.4%) from 40+
Statistically, Graham and Rackers would present an upgrade over Cundiff in overall accuracy and accuracy from distance. They both struggled in the postseason, however, as Graham missed both of his playoff attempts while Rackers went 1-of-3 in the postseason. Cundiff, meanwhile, made all three of his playoff kicks.
The question is if the Ravens would be able to (or willing to) snag either Graham or Rackers off the free agent market.
The Cardinals have reportedly expressed interest in bringing Rackers back, although Arizona has also met with Jay Feeley, a guy who might be a less expensive option for a team in need of a kicker. That could include the Ravens.
Right now, it remains unclear as to how the Ravens will approach their kicking situation. They could opt to make a splash and bring in one of the top free agent options, or they could stick with Cundiff and add a rookie (either a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent) to compete with him in camp.
It's a decision that the team hasn't needed to worry about all that often in previous years, but with Stover out of the picture, it's one that they've had to wrestle with recently.