49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

January 1, 2013
The kicking news: 49ers sign Cundiff, keep Akers

cundiff.jpg

*****Update***** The 49ers waived OLB Eric Bakhtiari, who has been waived twice already this season, to make room for Billy Cundiff on the 53-man roster.

The 49ers are going with option C -- keeping two kickers on their active roster and having them compete to be the team's kicker in the playoffs.

After a two-man tryout today, the 49ers signed 10-year veteran Billy Cundiff, who was cut by both the Ravens and Redskins earlier this season. Cundiff, who reportedly has had two strong workouts for the 49ers, will compete with incumbent David Akers, who has struggled from beyond 40 yards this season, according to a league source.

Cundiff and Bay Area native Justin Medlock were the only two kickers who auditioned today. Medlock, 29, went 21-22 on field goals during the tryout with one attempt going off the upright. Cundiff had two attempts hit the upright, but both went in. He was 22-22 and also distinguished himself on kickoffs.

On Monday, Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers had three options: Keep Akers, replace him with a newcomer or keep two kickers on the active roster and have them compete for the job. The 49ers had 53 players on the roster, and it's not yet known how they will make room for Cundiff. They can make as many moves as they want until 1 p.m. Wednesday; after that they are limited to four transactions throughout the playoffs.

Cundiff, 32, is best known for missing a 32-yard kick for the Ravens at the end of last season's AFC Championship game. He was beaten out for a roster spot by rookie Justin Tucker and was picked up by Washington, where he also struggled. He was released in favor of Kai Forbath. He has played for 10 different teams in as many seasons.

Cundiff has a career 75.5 field goal percentage but made only 7-12 (58.3 percent) of his chances in five games with the Redskins. Akers has a 69 percent accuracy rate, the lowest mark of his career and one that ranks 30th among full-time kickers this season.

Cundiff is right-footed while Akers is a lefty. That means holder Andy Lee will have to switch back and forth as the two compete this week and perhaps next. Lee did that in 2010 when left-footed Joe Nedney got hurt and the 49ers replaced him with right-footed Jeff Reed.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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