Austin MacGinnis

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/27/20

We’ll keep track of the practice squad moves from the past day here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Released: T Jared Hilbers

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

  • Signed: K Austin MacGinnis

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Rams Cut Kickers Austin MacGinnis, Lirim Hajrullahu

In a move that may or may not make the final episode of the latest Hard Knocks season, the Rams have decided on a kicker.

The team made the decision Friday to waive kickers Austin MacGinnis and Lirim Hajrullahu. This will leave Sam Sloman, a seventh-round pick out of Miami (Ohio) as Greg Zuerlein‘s successor.

Sloman separated from the other two competitors over the past week, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (on Twitter). Sloman made 87% of his field goals as a senior for the Redhawks last season.

The Rams signed MacGinnis and Hajrullahua as UDFAs this year. This will mark the first time since 2011 the Rams will head into a season without Zuerlein as their kicker. They opted to let the Pro Bowl specialist walk in free agency, when he signed with the Cowboys.

Rams To Sign K Lirim Hajrullahu

The Rams have agreed to sign kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Hajrullahu, as Pelissero explains, comes to Los Angeles with a CFL all-star resume and an unbelievable life story.

Hajrullahu was an 8-year-old boy when the Kosovo War flared up. One year later, his family managed to escape the danger by moving to Canada. In spite of all the hardship, Hajrullahu grew up to become a two-time CFL all-star and a league champion.

Along with Hajrullahu, the Rams also announced the signing of kicker Austin MacGinnis, who most recently played with the Dallas Renegades of the XFL. In the XFL’s partial season, he nailed all ten of his field goal tries.

The Rams are on the lookout for a new leg after Greg Zuerlein joined the Cowboys late last month. Young GZ has turned in some fantastic seasons over the years, but he made only 82% of his tries last year. The Rams are looking for more consistency, and they hope to find it with either Hajrullahu or MacGinnis.

Cowboys To Try Out Kickers

We heard just two days ago that the Cowboys would not be moving on from sophomore kicker Brett Maher, but the team is at least putting Maher on notice. As Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets, Dallas is bringing in three kickers for a workout today.

The Cowboys suffered an ugly loss to the Bills on Thanksgiving, and while there was plenty of blame to go around, Maher missed two field goals, which triggered speculation that Dallas could look for a replacement. Indeed, Maher has struggled to a 67.9% success rate on field goal attempts in 2019, which puts him among the league’s most inaccurate kickers.

That mark is well below the 80.6% success rate he posted in his rookie campaign in 2018, and while he is perfect on PATS this year, his accuracy on medium- to long-range kicks leaves much to be desired. Maher has connected on just five of 12 attempts from 40 yards or more.

Per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys are working out Austin MacGinnis, Nick Rose, and Tristan Vizcaino (Twitter link). Of those three, only Rose has any regular season NFL experience.

It’s unclear if the Cowboys would consider cutting Maher if they are impressed by one of the tryout players, but they are at least trying to spur Maher into a quick turnaround.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Giants Hold Kicker Workout

A year after Aldrick Rosas made the Pro Bowl, the Giants are working out kickers. Rosas missed two field goals in the Giants’ five-point loss to the Bears.

The Giants brought in kickers Blair Walsh, Giorgio Tavecchio, Austin MacGinnis and Cole Hedlund on Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson (on Twitter).

While Rosas did not kick well in Week 12, also booting a kickoff out of bounds, it would still be rather surprising to see a team give up on a third-year kicker who received a 2018 Pro Bowl invite. Rosas made 32 of 33 field goal tries last season and missed just one extra point. This year, he has not received nearly as many field goal chances. The former UDFA out of Southern Oregon is 8-for-12 on field goals and has missed three PATs.

Walsh caught on briefly with the Falcons and worked out for the Patriots and Jets this year. He also took part in a January workout for the then-kicker-needy Bears. Tavecchio and Walsh were briefly Falcons teammates this summer. The former held Atlanta’s kicking job for part of the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/16/19

Here is the latest from the workout circuit:

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Redskins

Bears To Sign K Redford Jones

The Bears’ kicker workout Friday ended with a rookie coming aboard. One of the lesser-known specialists trying out, Redford Jones, will be added to the roster, according to Jones’ agency (Twitter link).

Jones joined Nick Folk, Blair Walsh, Josh Gable, Ernesto Lacayo and Austin MacGinnis in the kicker derby, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Chicago will go with Jones, a 24-year-old Tulsa product who was out of football this season, as the player who will compete with the embattled Cody Parkey.

This was the first known NFL workout for Jones, whose Tulsa eligibility ran out after the 2017 season. He was the Golden Hurricane’s kicker for three seasons. After missing eight kicks in 2015, Jones went 21-for-26 in 2016 and 12-for-16 as a senior.

While it is far from certain a Parkey-Jones duel will be how the Bears decide who their 2019 kicker is, this is how the competition stacks up for now.

Bears To Audition Several Kickers

The Bears are leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to upgrade the kicker position. On Friday, they’ll work out a group of six or seven kickers including Nick Folk, Blair Walsh, and Austin MacGinnis, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). 

Parkey missed a potential game winner against the Eagles in the opening round of the playoffs, putting him on thin ice. His 43-yard try off the upright was a heartbreaker, though it wasn’t exactly Parkey’s fault as it was tipped by defensive tackle Treyvon Hester.

The 26-year-old kicker (27 in February) may have put his job in further jeopardy when he made a guest appearance on NBC’s Today show to discuss the miss. The lighthearted segment rubbed head coach Matt Nagy the wrong way and drew the ire of many Bears fans.

For me, you understand that we always talk about a ‘we’ and not a ‘me’ thing,” Nagy said (via ESPN.com). “We always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team. You know, I just, I didn’t necessarily think that that was too much of a ‘we’ thing.”

It certainly sounds like the Bears want to replace Parkey, but his contract complicates matters. Parkey joined the Bears on a four-year, $15MM deal last offseason which calls for a $4.4MM dead cap hit if he is released before the 2019 season. Earlier this month, GM Ryan Pace indicated that the contract will not necessarily keep them from moving on.

We talk about those things [the financial ramifications], but the most important thing is performance,” Pace said.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.