The Cleveland Browns Kicker Dilemma: Keep or Cut Chase McLaughlin?

The Cleveland Browns Kicker Dilemma: Keep or Cut Chase McLaughlin?

Nick Pedone
1 year ago
2 min read
The Cleveland Browns Kicker Dilemma: Keep or Cut Chase McLaughlin?

The Cleveland Browns find themselves in a sticky situation with their kicker position on the eve of NFL roster cutdown day.

Billy Cundiff. Travis Coons. Patrick Murray. Zane Gonzalez. Greg Joseph. Austin Seibert. Cody Parkey.

Those have been the Browns kickers since Phil Dawson departed in 2013.

It's an underwhelming list that has surfaced no long-term answer. But now, with the Browns becoming Super Bowl contenders, the team can no longer allow games to be determined by the foot of a shaky kicker.

2021 Kicker Situation

Last week, the Browns released incumbent kicker Cody Parkey from the injured reserve with a leg injury. This meant that Chase McLaughlin became the Browns lone option at kicker.

McLaughlin, 25, has already become a bit of an NFL journeyman in his two seasons as a professional. In 2019, he spent time with the Colts, Chargers, and 49ers. In 2020, he played for the Jaguars and the Jets.

Keep McLaughlin?

Throughout camp, the young kicker has looked decent, maybe just a step or two behind Parkey, who was the likely winner of the kicking competition if it wasn't for his injury.

McLaughlin doinked a 55-yard field goal at the end of the first half in the Browns preseason finale. Then, he absolutely shanked an extra-point attempt at the end of the game.

The likely outcome is that McLaughlin is the Browns lone kicker on the 53-man roster after the bell rings on Tuesday's 4:00 p.m. cut deadline. However, that doesn't mean he will be the kicker on September 12 against the Chiefs.

Other Options

The Browns already have both veteran and youthful options in free agency if they don't fully trust McLaughlin with the job.

37-year old Stephen Gostkowski is available as a trusty veteran as is Brett Maher, who is 32.

If the Browns wanted to keep age on the better side of 30, Joey Slye, 25, and Eddie Pineiro, 26, are both available options that have proven to be able to make kicks.

If they wanted a familiar face, Matt McCrane, 27, is also available. McCrane spent 2020 on the team's practice squad.

The Importance To Get This Right

An organization that plays their most meaningful games in the cold weather months, in a division with stadiums that are all outdoors, this is not a problem that can be prolonged for much longer.

The Browns window to win meaningful football games is wide open, and they can't afford to ruin their chances because of the kicking game. With all 32 teams making roster cuts over the next 24 hours, the Browns have plenty of options. They just need to get this right.

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