While the Saints have moved on from Garrett Hartley, the big question everyone had after the news was, ‘Who’s taking his place?’.
We don’t have the official word yet, and we won’t until tomorrow, but all reports & signs point to the Saints bringing in 36-year old veteran kicker Shayne Graham.
Graham entered the league in 2000, and was coincidentally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Saints. He was waived, and would then bounce around between several clubs (Seahawks, Bills, Seahawks, & Panthers). He found a permanent home with the Bengals from 2003-2009, where he would make the Pro Bowl, set franchise records, and hold the job for quite some time. However, after two misses in a Bengals 24-14 Wild Card loss against the Jets, Graham would not return.
Graham would then bounce around again, going from the Ravens to the Giants to the Patriots in 2010, then the Redskins, Cowboys, Dolphins, and Ravens (again) in 2011. Graham had a permanent job in 2012 with the Texans, after rookie Randy Bullock landed on injured reserve for the season. He’d play in all 16 games for the Texans, finishing 31 of 38 (82% accuracy).
This season, Graham has been with the Browns & Steelers, but hasn’t exactly seen much action. Maybe you can call this fate, or whatever else comes to mind about Graham returning to New Orleans 13 years later. Some were thinking Neil Rackers was also a prime candidate for the Saints to bring in. I’m sure the decision was a tough one, but most importantly, we trust Sean Payton.
It doesn’t look like it will be a permanent solution for the Saints, at least not at this point, but we’re not exactly worried about next season anytime soon.