Multiple reports out of the Metroplex confirm that the Dallas Cowboys have signed free agent kicker Shayne Graham.
Shayne Graham is a career 86.0% field goal kicker, kicked for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2003 through 2009 and recorded an 86.6% field goal percentage there. So much for the good news.
Unfortunately, after a Pro Bowl nod in 2005 and a 91.2% field goal rate in 2007, Graham's percentage dropped to 82.1% in 2009 - his lowest rate with the Bengals - and Cincinnati sent him packing after the 2009 season. Graham started bouncing around from team to team before landing in Dallas today.
Graham spent training camp last year in Baltimore, but wasn't able to win the kicking spot against Billy Cundiff, the Ravens All Pro kicker last year. He briefly spent some time on the Giants roster before signing with the Patriots as an injury replacement for the final eight weeks of the 2010 season. He did go 14-for-14 for the Patriots in the season and one playoff game, but was released anyway to make room for Stephen Gostkowski. This year, Graham started training camp with the Redskins, but was released after going 0-for-2 in two preseason games. In effect, Graham lost out to the Redskins' Graham Gano was has the distinction of being the statistically worst starting kicker in the league last year (68.6%).
Graham is now the fifth kicker the Cowboys have had on their roster in 2011, and the fourth kicker on the current roster, a roster depth (if you can call it that) that I've never heard of before on any NFL team. At some point, you've got to start wondering what the Cowboys are doing at the kicker position.
With the amount of teams Graham has bounced around with over the last year, it's unclear how much of an upgrade he could be at the kicker position.
David Buehler is out with a hip injury and Kai Forbath is still on the non-football injury list with no clarity about when and if he'll ever take his first kick for the Cowboys. Right now, that leaves the Cowboys with only rookie Dan Bailey healthy at kicker and makes Graham's signing look potentially like an attempt to provide an extra leg while Buehler and Forbath recover from their injuries. At this point, anything more is probably just wishful thinking.
Of course, having three kickers going into camp is already a pretty unusual move, so Garrett is probably pretty serious about bringing in competition. Graham is a vet, and perhaps this could go somewhere if he proves reliable. And since you don't need big legs on kickoffs anymore, Graham might just be the ticket.
After all, if you were just looking for a leg to help out for a week or two, why not sign some rookie or some nobody?