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Yoder signed, two visit


Tight end Todd Yoder passed his physical and signed his contract, and unrestricted free agents Mike Compton and Tommy Hendricks visited Alltel Stadium today.

Those are Friday's free agency updates, one day after the Jaguars signed restricted free agent kicker Shayne Graham to a contract. The Cincinnati Bengals have seven days to match the Jaguars' offer to Graham and retain the kicker.

Compton, 6-6, 310, would be in his 12th NFL season next fall, after spending the last three seasons with the New England Patriots as a guard/center. He will be 34 next September, has played every position on the offensive line and would help the Jaguars replace Jamar Nesbit and Leander Jordan, free-agent offensive linemen the Jaguars have lost to the New York Giants and San Diego Chargers respectively.

Hendricks, 6-2, 235, completed his fourth season in the NFL last year. He will be 26 next October and would give the Jaguars depth and insurance at linebacker, where the team is in danger of losing starter Danny Clark in free agency. Hendricks made his mark with the Miami Dolphins as a special teams star.

Graham was a pleasant surprise for the Bengals, after acquiring the Virginia Tech kicker off waivers from the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 1. Graham's 88 percent field goal accuracy (22 of 25) last season set a Bengals team record. Two of Graham's three misses were from beyond 50 yards; a 54-yarder that was wide left and a 52-yarder that hit the upright.

As far as leg strength, Graham ranked 13th in the NFL in average kickoff distance, 62.2 yards per kickoff. Four of his kickoffs resulted in touchbacks, which helped the Bengals record the league's 10th-best opponents' return average.

The Jaguars are attempting to address a kicking game that was one of the league's worst last season. Rookie kicker Seth Marler converted 20 of 33 field goal attempts, the league's worst conversion rate, and the Jaguars were 30th in kickoff coverage.

The Bengals gave Graham the low tender offer, which means any team successful in acquiring Graham would owe the Bengals no compensation. Terms of the contract Graham signed with the Jaguars were not disclosed.

Yoder, an unrestricted free agent from Tampa Bay who will be in his fifth NFL season in 2004, became the Jaguars' first official acquisition of the free agency period today. At 6-4, 250, Yoder is considered an accomplished blocker and special teams player.

Compton has been an "ironman" throughout his career, until last season, when he suffered a foot injury and was put on injured reserve on Sept. 22.

Hendricks got a couple of starting nods last year for the Dolphins, but the Jaguars' interest in him is for the player he might become.

In other Jaguars-related free agency news, defensive end Tony Brackens visited the New Orleans Saints yesterday. Brackens, of course, was cut by the Jaguars this past Tuesday.

Cornerback Fernando Bryant signed with the Detroit Lions this morning.

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