Chase McLaughlin

Buccaneers Waive K Rodrigo Blankenship

Rodrigo Blankenship partook in a training camp rematch of sorts, being part of a kicking battle against Chase McLaughlin. That series is now tied at one apiece.

Three years after Blankenship unseated McLaughlin as the Colts’ kicker, the Buccaneers are going the other way. Tampa Bay waived Blankenship on Monday, leaving McLaughlin as the only kicker on the roster.

Blankenship went 1-for-3 on field goal tries against the Jets on Saturday; McLaughlin made his only attempt. Although Blankenship was 1-for-1 in Tampa Bay’s first preseason game, McLaughlin is the team’s kicker pick.

The Bucs added Blankenship after minicamp, bringing him in nearly three months after signing McLaughlin on a one-year deal with $100K guaranteed. The Bucs did not guarantee Blankenship anything. While this competition was not to succeed a Hall of Famer, as the 2020 Colts duel was after Adam Vinatieri‘s exit, McLaughlin now looks like he will go into the season as Ryan Succop‘s successor. Succop, who remains unsigned, spent the past three seasons in that role. Succop provided some continuity for a Bucs team that spent most of the 2010s changing kickers annually, but a cap-strapped Tampa Bay operation made the veteran a cap casualty this year.

Monday’s development continues the intertwined careers of McLaughlin and Blankenship. The latter, a former Groza award winner while at Georgia, kicked in all 16 Colts games in 2020. But he suffered an injury five games into the 2021 season. Blankenship struggled in Week 1 of last season, missing a 42-yard field goal in overtime and sending two kickoffs out of bounds. Indianapolis’ usual kickoff man, Rigoberto Sanchez, was out due to a season-ending injury sustained in training camp. The team then signed McLaughlin to replace Blankenship.

McLaughlin kicked in 16 Browns games in 2021 and 16 Colts contests last year. The Bucs added him, in part, because of long-range success. McLaughlin made 9 of 12 50-plus-yard tries in 2022 and was 4-for-4 in 2021. Succop went just 2-for-7 last season. Blankenship, who finished last season with the Cardinals, is not a vested veteran and will head to the waiver wire.

Kickers frequently change cities around this point, with teams monitoring other rosters to fill this oft-unstable position. Blankenship could soon land another opportunity, though he has now been cut twice in 11 months.

Buccaneers To Sign K Chase McLaughlin

Days after cutting Ryan Succop, the Buccaneers have settled on a new kicker. They are signing Chase McLaughlin, according to JoeBucsFan.com. It is a one-year agreement.

McLaughlin will head to Tampa after being replaced in Indianapolis. The Colts, who used McLaughlin as their Adam Vinatieri injury replacement in 2019 and as Rodrigo Blankenship‘s fill-in last season, signed Matt Gay to the league’s second-most lucrative kicker deal early in free agency.

The Bucs released Succop last week, doing so despite having already cleared the cap room necessary to retain Jamel Dean and Lavonte David. The Succop release saved the team $3.75MM, and McLaughlin will be positioned to replace him. Succop, however, represented the only kicking constant over the past decade. The team will see if McLaughlin can effectively replace the veteran.

McLaughlin, 27 in April, has been a primary kicking option for two teams — the Browns and Colts — since 2021. He struggled in Cleveland, making only 71% of his field goal tries, and the Browns then drafted Cade York last year. The Colts brought McLaughlin in after Blankenship played the lead role in a Week 1 tie with the Texans. McLaughlin fared better in 2022, making 83% of his field goal tries — including 9 of the 12 attempts from beyond 50 yards. McLaughlin also made 9 of 11 tries from 40-49 yards, representing a significant improvement on his 2021 work (4-for-10).

Although McLaughlin only began his run as an NFL kicker in 2019, he is already on team No. 7. He will come cheaper than Succop, whom the Bucs had signed to a three-year, $12MM extension shortly after Super Bowl LV.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/4/22

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Designated for return from IR: WR Calvin Austin

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Cine has now undergone two surgeries in London to repair his leg fracture. The first-round pick underwent a preparatory procedure before his Tuesday operation to repair the compound fracture he sustained. The Georgia product will stay in England for the time being, with Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noting (via Twitter) doctors want to ensure no infections develop. Cine could travel back to Minnesota as soon as this weekend.

Following Latavius Murray off the Saints’ practice squad this week, Wilson did not see any action for the team this season. The former multiyear Vikings starter signed a one-year, $2.75MM Eagles deal in 2021, but Philadelphia bailed on that contract during the season. Wilson, 28, finished last season with the Texans. In his lone full season as a Vikings starter (2020), Wilson made 122 tackles, registered three sacks and intercepted three passes.

Addison signed with the Texans shortly after the draft, joining fellow ex-Bills edge rusher Jerry Hughes in joining the rebuilding team on a two-year deal. The Texans placed Addison on IR with a groin injury; he is eligible to be activated to the 53-man roster this week. Teams can make eight activations from their injured lists — be it IR, PUP or NFI — this season.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/1/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/24/22

Lots of moves leading into gameday. Remember that players promoted from the practice squad for games will revert back to the practice squad after:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/17/22

Today’s minor moves around the league, including practice squad elevations for tomorrow’s action:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

  • Promoted from practice squad: CB Daryl WorleyWR Raleigh Webb

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

New Orleans Saints

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Commanders

Colts Elevate WR Keke Coutee, K Chase McLaughlin

The wide receiver and kicker positions are in flux in Indianapolis at the moment, so it comes as no surprise that each are being addressed with their two allotted practice squad elevations. Per a team announcement, the Colts are bringing up Keke Coutee and Chase McLaughlin to the active roster. 

Coutee, 25, is continuing his Colts tenure which began last season. The former Texans fourth-rounder spent three years in Houston, setting career highs in receptions (33), yards (400) and touchdowns (three) in 2020. His 11.3 yards-per-catch average throughout his time with his first team made the slot man an intriguing candidate for a reserve/futures deal.

While the 5-11, 180-pounder was among the Colts’ final roster cuts before the start of the season, he returned to their taxi squad. That left the door open to him playing a potential rotational role, but he could see a significant workload tomorrow given the injuries to top wideouts Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec PierceCoutee will join Parris CampbellAshton DulinMike Strachan, and Dezmon Patmon in trying to replace those two.

McLaughlin, meanwhile, has obviously gotten the nod over undrafted rookie Lucas Havrisik to step in for Rodrigo Blankenship. The latter was waived earlier this week, after his struggles greatly contributed to the Colts having to settle for a Week 1 tie. McLaughlin finished the 2019 campaign in Indianapolis, making five of his six field goal attempts. The team will look for him to replicate that level of success, after he went just 15-for-21 with the Browns last season.

The Colts will lean on Coutee and McLaughlin tomorrow as they look to get in the win column against the Jaguars. The pair could play their way into a full-time roster spot with encouraging performances at positions of need, making their contributions a storyline to watch.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 9/13/22

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad additions and subtractions:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

  • Signed: DB BoPete Keyes

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

  • Released: WR Dai’Jean Dixon

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Colts To Waive Rodrigo Blankenship, Add Two Kickers To Practice Squad

Back after missing most of last season, Rodrigo Blankenship missed a crucial field goal that would have avoided the Colts’ first tie in 40 years. The team is now moving on from the third-year kicker.

Indianapolis is waiving Blankenship Tuesday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). The team may be set to hold a pre-Week 2 practice competition. Chase McLaughlin and Lucas Havrisik are signing to the Colts’ practice squad, Pelissero adds (via Twitter). Former Jaguars Matthew Wright and Josh Lambo also worked out for the team Tuesday, per the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson (Twitter links).

This will mark an Indiana return to Indianapolis for McLaughlin, whom the team used during part of the 2019 season. An an Adam Vinatieri injury brought in McLaughlin, who had already kicked in games for the Chargers and 49ers that year. McLaughlin finished the season with the Colts, who replaced him with Blankenship in 2020. McLaughlin went 5-for-6 on field goals with Indy in 2019. He was 15-for-21 in 16 Browns games last season. A UDFA rookie out of Arizona, Havrisik was the Wildcats’ kicker for most of the past five seasons. His two 57-yard makes in college double as the Pac-12 program’s record. Havrisik also participated in the Colts’ rookie minicamp this year.

In addition to his 42-yard overtime miss, Blankenship sent two kickoffs — his final regulation kick and the overtime opener — out of bounds. The Texans scored on neither of the ensuing drives, but some with the Colts were more frustrated with those sequences than the OT field goal miss, The Athletic’s Zak Keefer tweets.

Blankenship has not been the Colts’ primary kickoff man for most of his career. Longtime punter Rigoberto Sanchez handled those duties when available. The latter going down during a training camp practice led to the Colts signing Matt Haack but using their kicker as their kickoff man in Week 1.

Last season, the Colts placed Blankenship on IR — after his injury in Baltimore contributed to a Monday-night collapse — and used Michael Badgley as their kicker in the final 12 games. The team did not bring Badgley to training camp, however, with Keefer adding it viewed rookie UDFA Jake Verity as the higher-upside choice (Twitter link). The Colts waived Verity as they moved their roster to 53.

A former four-year Georgia Bulldogs kicker, Blankenship signed with the Colts as a 2020 UDFA. Blankenship made 87% of his field goals as a rookie, though he was 1-for-3 from beyond 50 yards. This will be the third time in four seasons the Colts will have needed to make an in-season kicker switch. Vinatieri’s early-season struggles in 2019 led to a late-season surgery, beginning the stretch of uncertainty. Prior to that, the most notable in-season kicker change the Colts had made occurred back in 2009, when a Vinatieri injury prompted the eventual AFC champions to sign Matt Stover. Excepting the Stover year, the Colts used two kickers from 1998-2010 — Mike Vanderjagt and Vinatieri.

With K Harrison Butker Ailing, Chiefs Sign Kicker To Practice Squad

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is dealing with an ankle injury from the team’s season opener. He returned to the game later on, but the injury may be more serious than initially thought as Kansas City opted to add former Jets kicker Matt Ammendola to their practice squad tonight, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. 

Butker slipped on the kickoff following the Kansas City’s opening scoring drive yesterday and limped off the field with a hurt ankle. The Chiefs trotted out safety Justin Reid for the next two extra point attempts, which he split one for two. After Reid’s missed extra point attempt, the Chiefs brought Butker back for field goals and extra points, but kept Reid as the kickoff specialist.

Seeing Butker’s return inspired hope that his injury was not too serious, but today’s signing hints that there might be reason to worry. Ammendola was the winner of what was a kicking contest between several free agents today, according to another tweet from Pelissero. He beat out Elliott Fry, Chase McLaughlin, Cody Parkey, Tristan Vizcaino, and rookie Cameron Dicker.

Ammendola went undrafted two years ago out of Oklahoma State. He eventually spent a few months in the offseason leading up to the 2021 season with the Panthers before signing with the Jets. He made his NFL debut in New York, playing in 11 games. Ammendola was perfect from within 40 yards, going 11 for 11, but struggled from a distance going two for eight on kicks longer than 40 yards, including missing all three kicks from over 50 yards. He was mostly reliable on extra points, though, converting 14 of his 15 attempts. He also served double-duty doing kickoffs and punts for the Jets.

It’s not a foregone conclusion that Ammendola is kicking for the Chiefs this week, but placing him on the practice squad allows the Chiefs to call him up on a day’s notice if Butker is not feeling 100-percent leading up to the team’s Thursday night matchup against the Chargers.