The Bengals today designated K Mike Nugent as the team's franchise player, under terms of the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The franchise tag gives Nugent the option to sign with the Bengals for 2012 for a salary specified by a formula within the CBA.
Nugent is a free agent and will have the right to negotiate with other teams, but the franchise-player designation means that should Nugent agree to terms with another team, the Bengals could retain him by matching the offer. Should the Bengals decline to match a competing offer, the team signing Nugent would be required to give the Bengals two first-round draft choices.
Nugent and the Bengals are still permitted to negotiate for a multi-year contract, either before or after Nugent would elect to sign the one-year franchise-player offer for 2012.
Nugent is an eighth-year NFL player in 2012. He has played two seasons for the Bengals after signing as a free agent for 2010. This past season he helped the Bengals gain a playoff berth by setting franchise records for points (132) and field goals (33). He ranked eighth in the NFL in field goal accuracy (86.8 percent on 33-of-38). He put 67 of his 80 kickoffs into the end zone, 36 of those going for touchbacks, and the Bengals finished first in the NFL in opponents' starting field position after kickoffs (20.3-yard line).
Nugent also was voted by the team as its 2011 winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, due in large part to his successful comeback from a severe knee injury that sidelined him for the final seven games of 2010.