<span>Veteran placekicker Martin Gramatica's experiences with the Saints in 2007 were so positive that the Kansas State alumnus shunned the opportunity to test the unrestricted free agent waters and has agreed to stay with the Black-and-Gold and compete for the kicking duties in 2008.
Gramatica, who signed with the Saints after incumbent kicker Olindo Mare's season was cut short with a hip injury in early December, came on and was downright perfect in field goals and extra points for the Saints the final three games of the 2007 season. Gramatica connected on all five of his field goal opportunities and was eight-of-eight on extra points while with the Saints. His most impressive field goal was a 48-yard field goal into the wind at Chicago's Soldier Field in the waning moments of the first half against the Bears on December 30.
Entering his ninth NFL season, Gramatica is no stranger to Saints fans, having spent the first six seasons of his career with the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Gramatica brings with him plenty of experience and a 77.2 percent success rate on field goals over the course of his career, but prior to joining the Saints had seen injuries cut into his opportunities in recent years. Surgery to repair tears in his lower adductor and lower abdomen sidelined him for the entire 2005 season and a hamstring injury ended his run during the 2007 training camp with the Dallas Cowboys.
That Gramatica elected to re-up with the Saints prior to the start of the free agency period is a positive step for the Saints, as this year's free agent class is relatively thin in relatively youthful and experienced kickers. Included among the notable players on course for unrestricted free agency as Seattle's Josh Brown, although there have been rumors emanating from the Pacific Northwest that he could draw the franchise tag from the Seahawks if they are unable to work out a contract extension. Other kickers include Denver's Jason Elam, Cincinnati's Aaron Elling, Washington's Shaun Suisham and the Giants' Lawrence Tynes.