With the beginning of free agency only a matter of hours away, the Cincinnati Bengals made their first notable signings when they locked up both Kevin Huber and Clark Harris to five-year contracts.
Huber and Harris were set to become unrestricted free agents, so their new deals are more important than the one signed by prospective restricted free agent Cedric Peerman.
As a long snapper, Harris likely wouldn’t have received any offers on the open market, but Huber was one of the best young punters coming free and likely would have received significant attention. In fact, not only was he one of the best young punters coming free, but he is one of the best young punters in the league.
Huber has averaged exactly 44 yards per punt over his career, including a 46.6 career high last season. He also landed a career high 33 punts inside the opposition’s 20, making him a very important weapon for the Bengals as a whole.
Outside of re-signing Huber, the Bengals only other real option was to pursue Shane Lechler. Lechler is arguably the best punter in league history, but he is also coming close to the end of his career at 36 years of age. Huber, on the other hand, could play for another 12 to 15 years as he is still only 27 years of age.
By re-signing Huber and Harris, the Bengals have solidified their special teams and crossed off their first need for the 2013 off-season. Now that they no longer need to worry about those two positions, they can focus on deciding what to do at kicker before free agency begins.