Matt McCrane

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/9/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/8/19

Here are the latest reserve/futures contract signings from around the NFL. These deals will go into effect on the first day of the 2019 league year, with players joining their respective clubs’ offseason 90-man rosters:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • WR Duke Williams

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Miami Dolphins

  • LB Sam Eguavoen

New England Patriots

  • C Jake Eldrenkamp

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Houston Texans

Philadelphia Eagles

  • LB Alex Singleton

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • K Matt McCrane

Seattle Seahawks

Steelers Place K Chris Boswell On IR

The Steelers are making a significant change ahead of their biggest game of the season. ESPN’s Field Yates reports (via Twitter) that the team is placing kicker Chris Boswell on injured reserve. The team has signed kicker Matt McCrane to take his place.

After making the Pro Bowl last season, Boswell has struggled mightily in 2018. Through 15 games, Boswell has converted only 13 of his 20 field goal attempts, with his 65-percent mark ranking dead last among eligible kickers. The 27-year-old even struggled on extra points; after having made at least 94-percent of his attempts through the first three seasons of his career, that number dropped to 89.6-percent (43-for-48) in 2018.

Boswell seemed to have a rebound game during last weekend’s loss to the Saints, as he made his two field goal attempts and two extra point tries. Many attributed the kicker’s struggles to the yips, and his placement on the IR doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s been dealing with a nagging injury throughout the campaign. It’s more likely that the coaching staff still didn’t feel good about Boswell’s prospects heading into Week 17 and the postseason, and his placement on the IR allowed the organization to keep him on the roster.

McCrane, an undrafted rookie out of Kansas State, has bounced around the NFL this season, spending time with the Cardinals and Raiders. He appeared in four total games with the two organizations, connecting on five of his nine field goal attempts and all five of his extra point tries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Steelers To Work Out Kickers

The Steelers are giving serious thought to moving on from kicker Chris Boswell. On Wednesday, the club flew in free agent kickers Kai Forbath and Matt McCrane to compete with the incumbent kicker, sources tell Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). 

Days after Boswell missed two field goals, including a game tying try, against the Raiders, head coach Mike Tomlin admitted that he would consider alternatives. He also noted the general lack of quality options in the free agent pool and he was therefore undecided on whether to audition other kickers. After some consideration, the Steelers opted to open up a competition.

Boswell’s miss at the end of Sunday’s game can be attributed to the bad turf in Oakland, but the rest of his struggles this year cannot be written off. Of course, this comes just months after the Steelers gave him a four-year, $19.2MM extension with a $6MM roster bonus, which may complicate the final decision.

The division-leading Steelers finish out the year against the Patriots, Saints, and Bengals. Thanks to a three-game losing streak, they lead the Ravens by just 0.5 games for the AFC North crown.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Panthers Work Out Caleb Sturgis, Chandler Catanzaro, Others

Graham Gano has been the Panthers’ kicker since 2012, and he’s made 13 of 15 field goal attempts this season. But he’s run into trouble recently, and those issues have overlapped with Carolina’s three-game losing streak.

The Panthers are exploring other options. They brought in kickers Chandler Catanzaro, Caleb Sturgis, Sam Ficken and Matt McCrane for workouts Tuesday, Sirius XM Radio’s Adam Caplan tweets.

Gano missed a go-ahead 52-yard field goal in Carolina’s loss to Seattle on Sunday and missed an extra point, one of the three he’s misfired on this season, in a one-point loss in Detroit in Week 11. For the season, the 31-year-old specialist is 28-for-31 on PATs. He missed three extra points in each of the past three seasons.

Sturgis and Catanzaro saw the Chargers and Buccaneers, respectively, replace them midway through this season. Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering; Ficken missed 2 of 3 field goal tries. McCrane went to camp with the Cardinals and received a four-game opportunity with the Raiders. Said opportunity included four missed field goals.

Carolina and Gano agreed to terms on a four-year contract in March. It would cost the Panthers more than $5MM in dead money to cut Gano now. At $4.25MM AAV, Gano is the second-highest-paid kicker in the game.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Cut K Matt McCrane

With Phil Dawson expected to return from injury this week, the Cardinals have moved on from their placeholder at kicker. Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com reports (via Twitter) that the organization has cut Matt McCrane.

The 24-year-old’s stint with the organization was expected to be short-lived. The team signed the kicker to the active roster when they realized that Dawson wouldn’t be ready to go for Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders. McCrane ended up filling in adequately for the veteran, connecting on all three of his extra point attempts in the loss.

The Kansas State product also had a three-game stint with the Raiders earlier this season, connecting on five of his nine field goal attempts (including a career-long 44-yarder) and all five of his extra point attempts. Otherwise, the undrafted rookie spent a portion of his season on Arizona’s practice squad.

Prior to this past weekend, the 43-year-old Dawson hadn’t missed a regular season since he was with the Browns in 2009. He’s appeared in nine games for Arizona this season, connecting on four of his six field goal attempts and all 14 of his extra point tries.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Cut Kendall Wright, David Amerson

Two higher-profile veterans will lose their Cardinals roster spots to make room for younger players.

The Cardinals waived both David Amerson and Kendall Wright on Saturday to clear space for kicker Matt McCrane and defensive end Vontarrius Dora.

Both Wright and Amerson were in-season additions, the latter joining the Cards this week. But needs at other positions will send them to the waiver wire, where all vested veterans who are cut after the trade deadline go.

The Cardinals worked out McCrane on Friday, and this signing may be an indication Phil Dawson will not be able to kick on Sunday. The 20-year veteran missed practice time with a hip injury this week and is questionable.

This would be McCrane’s second game action as a rookie. He kicked in three games for the Raiders earlier this season but made just 5 of 9 field goals before being waived. The Kansas State product was in camp with the Cardinals and spent time on Arizona’s practice squad.

A former Broncos UDFA, Dora has not played in a game since the 2016 season but has spent this season on the Cards’ practice squad and has shown well during preseasons. Rodney Gunter and Robert Nkemdiche‘s statuses are in question for Sunday, and the Cards made an insurance promotion in Dora.

Wright caught on with the Cards earlier this year but has not played in a game since leading the Bears in receiving last season. Released by both the Raiders and Chiefs this year, Amerson logged numerous workouts before landing with the Cardinals on Tuesday.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 10/30/18

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cardinals Sign Matt McCrane To P-Squad

With concern over Phil Dawson‘s hip injury, the Cardinals signed kicker Matt McCrane to the practice squad. To make room, the Cards released offensive lineman Kyle Friend from the 10-man unit.

McCrane was with the Cardinals in the preseason before being cut, so coaches are already familiar with what he offers. He hooked on with the Raiders after being let go, but he was pretty lousy in his three games as Mike Nugent‘s stand-in. The Kansas State product went 5-for-9 on field goal tries and was just 2-for-6 when subtracting chip shots from 20-29 yards out.

Perhaps he’d have better luck in Arizona. During the preseason, McCrane nailed 4-of-4 field goal attempts, including two tries from 50 yards or longer.

If Dawson can’t go this weekend, the Cardinals can promote him to the active roster on Saturday and have him in the lineup on Sunday when they face the 49ers. Kicking is the least of the Cardinals’ worries, but his presence gives the 1-6 club one less thing to worry about.

Raiders Cut K Matt McCrane

The Raiders waived kicker Matt McCrane, according to Matt Schneidman of the San Jose Mercury News (on Twitter). To replace him, the Raiders signed Daniel Carlson.

The Raiders signed McCrane after losing Mike Nugent to a hip injury, but he didn’t kick like Nugent in his three games with the team. He went 5-for-9 on field goal tries, and just 2-for-6 when subtracting chip shots from 20-29 yards out.

Carlson has had his own struggles this year. The fifth-round pick of the Vikings missed three field goals in Week 2, and was quickly dropped by Minnesota.

Carlson will make his Raiders debut on Sunday when the Colts travel to Oakland.