One year ago following a breakthrough Pro Bowl season, the Ravens signed kicker Billy Cundiff to a five-year, $14.7 million contract extension that included a $3 million signing bonus.
Now, Cundiff's roster status has become a topic of serious debate following his missed chip shot in the AFC championship game as undrafted rookie kicker Justin Tucker has delivered a serious challenge to the veteran kicker.
Tucker has outkicked Cundiff in practice sessions and handled all of the kicking Thursday night during a 48-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, connecting from 53 yards and 33 yards as well as making all six extra points. Cundiff, who has converted both of his preseason field goal attempts, expressed frustration after the game with not being used against the Jaguars.
If the Ravens were to cut Cundiff, they would shed his $2.2 million base salary this year, but would also carry $600,000 in dead money against the salary cap this year and $1.8 million the following year because of the remaining proration of his $3 million bonus. Cundiff carries a $2.8 million salary-cap figure for this year, including his base salary and the $600,000 prorated portion of his signing bonus.
Currently $3.123 million under the NFL salary cap limit, the Ravens would save $1.81 million against the salary cap for this year by subtracting Cundiff's $2.2 million base salary and accounting for $600,000 in dead money against Tucker's $390,000 minimum rookie salary.
If he remains on the roster, Cundiff is due the following base salaries: $2.2 million in 2012, $2.3 million in 2013, $2.7 million in 2014 and $3 million in 2015 for a total of $10.2 million in base salary and $12.6 million against the salary cap.
Tucker is signed to a three-year contract with no bonus and includes the following base salaries: $390,000 in 2012, $480,000 in 2013 and $570,000 in 2015.