Dustin Hopkins

Browns Place QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson On IR, Sign P.J. Walker

Joe Flacco comfortably sits atop the Browns’ quarterback depth chart, but a new backup will be in place for the foreseeable future. Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been placed on injured reserve, the team announced on Tuesday.

The fifth-round rookie is dealing with a hip injury, and it will shut him down for an extended stretch. The move guarantees at least a four-week absence for Thompson-Robinson, meaning he will not be available for the remainder of the regular season. In a corresponding move, P.J. Walker has been signed from the practice squad to the active roster.

The quarterback spot has been in flux for Cleveland, a team which has managed to win games with four different signal-callers. Thompson-Robinson has logged three starts and eight appearances with starter Deshaun Watson finding himself in and out of the lineup before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. The UCLA alum had been in place as Flacco’s backup during his impressive run at the helm, but the QB2 spot will now belong to Walker.

The latter has made a pair of starts in 2023, his first season with the Browns. Walker has made a total of six appearances, the most recent of which came in Week 12. The former XFLer has struggled when on the field, throwing five interceptions and just one touchdown. Those totals cost him an active roster spot to make way for the Flacco-Thompson-Robinson pairing, but he is now in position to close out the season as the team’s backup.

Flacco has been highly impressive since arriving with the Browns last month. As a result, he may be playing his way into a new Cleveland contract this offseason. The former Super Bowl MVP will be counted on through the remainder of the season and into the playoffs, but the latest injury-induced change to the quarterback depth chart will leave the Browns thin under center moving forward.

When speaking to the media on Tuesday, head coach Kevin Stefanski also announced that kicker Dustin Hopkins will miss Cleveland’s Thursday night contest against the Jets. Hopkins exited the Browns’ Week 16 win with a hamstring injury, and the team responded yesterday by signing Riley Patterson. Still in the running for the AFC’s No. 1 seed, the Browns will have a new face at the kicker position while bringing back a familiar one to fill the QB2 role.

Browns Sign K Riley Patterson

Cut once again by the Lions, Riley Patterson cleared waivers on Christmas Day. After making more than 88% of his field goal tries this season, the young kicker has another gig.

The Browns added Patterson to their practice squad Monday, doing so after playing much of their Week 16 game without a kicker. Dustin Hopkins sustained a hamstring injury against the Texans, putting his availability for the Browns’ Thursday-night game in jeopardy.

Hopkins, whom the Browns traded for after Cade York struggled during the preseason, has kicked in all 15 Cleveland games this season. Patterson operated as Detroit’s kicker in 13 games this year, but after an ongoing competition against Michael Badgley during practices, the 24-year-old specialist lost his Lions job for the second time. Detroit also waived Patterson just before the 2022 season.

After spending the 2022 season with the Jaguars, Patterson returned to the Lions — via a trade featuring a late-round pick swap — following Jacksonville’s May Brandon McManus addition. Patterson made 15 of 17 field goals and 35 of 37 extra points during his second Lions stint, but Badgley — who closed out last season as Detroit’s kicker — evidently outperformed him in practice. Badgley has kicked in the Lions’ past two games.

Hopkins, 33, re-signed with the Chargers last year but missed 12 games. Cameron Dicker beat him out for the Bolts’ kicking job during training camp this summer. With Cleveland, Hopkins has made 91.7% of his field goals, connecting on an NFL-high 33 attempts. He is 24-for-26 on PATs.

The former Washington- and Los Angeles-based specialist landed on IR due to a midseason hamstring injury last year, making this his latest malady something to monitor for a Browns team closing in on what would be its third playoff berth since rebooting the franchise in 1999. The Browns placing Hopkins on IR would sideline him for the rest of the regular season and two playoff games, depending on how far Cleveland’s season goes. This P-squad move, thanks to Badgley’s quality practice work, gives the Browns some proven insurance.

Chargers To Trade K Dustin Hopkins To Browns; Cade York Waived

One day after kicker Cade York received his least-glowing endorsement yet from the Browns, Cleveland is adding a veteran kicker. Dustin Hopkins has been acquired from the Chargers via trade, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. ESPN’s Adam Schefter adds that Los Angeles will acquire a 2025 seventh-round pick as part of the deal. In a corresponding move, York has been cut, as first reported by the Score’s Jordan Schultz.

[RELATED: Browns Acquire RB Pierre Strong From Patriots]

The news means Cameron Dicker has won the Chargers’ kicking competition, making Hopkins expendable. The latter will now head to Cleveland where he will provide a much more experienced option at the position compared to York. The Browns’ fourth-rounder from one year ago has struggled throughout the preseason, leading to speculation a move of some kind would need to be made.

Browns general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski had publicly exuded confidence in York for much of this offseason, but the latter declined to confirm he would be the team’s Week 1 kicker yesterday. Now, his fate has been learned as a rough summer will result in him needing to find a fresh start to continue his NFL career, something which will be complicated by the flurry of moves made around the league this week.

York, 22, converted on 75% of his field goal tries and all but two of his extra points during his rookie season. His training camp and preseason performances represented a step back from those figures, though, and the team has decided to move on. Hopkins, by contrast, will have an immediate opportunity to hold down the kicking gig in a new home despite losing the Chargers’ competition.

The 32-year-old spent six-plus years in Washington before surprisingly being released. That led him to the Chargers, with whom he made 16 total appearances across two seasons. Hopkins – who missed time last year while dealing with a hamstring injury – went 27-for-30 on field goals and 42-for-44 on extra points during his time in Los Angeles. If he can duplicate that success in Cleveland, he will represent an upgrade over York, whose future with the Browns or another team will be worth watching.

Chargers Place K Dustin Hopkins On IR

Dustin Hopkins will miss at least four more games. The Chargers announced that they’ve placed the veteran kicker on injured reserve. Practice squad kicker Cameron Dicker has been signed to the active roster to take Hopkins’ place.

Hopkins has been sidelined since Week 6 with a hamstring injury. The Chargers kept him on the active roster for more than a month hoping he’d make a return, but with the team having already used their three PS elevations on Dicker, they needed to open up a roster spot. Hopkins will now be required to miss another four contests, making Week 16 the earliest possible return for the 32-year-old.

Hopkins put up career numbers after joining the Chargers last season, connecting on 90 percent of his field goal tries. He inked a three-year extension with the organization this past offseason. In six games this season, the veteran converted nine of his 1o field goal attempts and all 12 of his extra point tries.

Taylor Bertolet was the original fill-in for Hopkins, but a quadriceps injury forced the team to pivot to Dicker. The rookie has been perfect in his three games for the Chargers, connecting on all seven of his FG attempts and all six of his XP attempts. Dicker also got into a game with the Eagles earlier this year, converting all of his FG/XP tries. He’s made a pair of game-winning field goals this season, resulting in a pair of Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

AFC West Notes: Broncos, Kelce, Chargers

Already battling lat and shoulder issues while proceeding through a rocky navigation in Nathaniel Hackett‘s offense, Russell Wilson sustained a hamstring injury Monday night. The injury occurred during a fourth-quarter scramble, Wilson said. The Broncos are calling their quarterback day-to-day. But there is some concern about Wilson’s Week 7 availability, with Tom Pelissero of NFL.com adding this may be a “fairly significant” injury (Twitter link).

Wilson has only missed three games in 10-plus seasons; each came because of his finger injury last year. He has experienced a worse-than-expected acclimation process in Hackett’s offense, which has generated more than 20 points just once this season. Playing through multiple injuries likely will not help matters, but given Wilson’s career path, that should be the expectation. Here is the latest from the AFC West:

  • The Chiefs held less than $1MM in cap space at this time last week. They are now close to $4MM. Kansas City got there by restructuring Travis Kelce‘s contract for the second time this year. The move created $3.46MM in space, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The Chiefs made the move last week, per CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who notes the team did so to have some additional room for practice squad promotions (Twitter link). Kelce remains signed through 2025.
  • Dustin Hopkins became the hero in another low-scoring Broncos primetime game Monday, making four field goals despite hurting his hamstring early in the contest. Brandon Staley said his kicker suffered a hamstring strain and is expected to miss two to four weeks. Taylor Bertolet, the Chargers‘ practice squad kicking option, will step in for the veteran leg. Hopkins, whom the Chargers added after Washington surprisingly cut him during the 2021 season, also missed Week 5 due to a quadriceps injury.
  • Bolts backup running back Joshua Kelley will miss time as well. Staley said Kelley sustained an MCL sprain during Monday’s game. The Chargers have used Kelley as an Austin Ekeler backup since drafting him in the 2020 fourth round. Sony Michel will have the team’s RB2 gig to himself for the time being, as it would not surprise to see Kelley land on IR.
  • The Broncos extended their Week 1 right tackle revolving door to 10 seasons, opening the campaign with Cameron Fleming in that spot. The two players the team signed to vie for the gig — Billy Turner and Tom Compton — began the season injured. Turner has returned and moved into the lineup during Monday’s game, sending Fleming to left tackle and Calvin Anderson (Garett Bolles‘ initial replacement) to the bench. But Compton remains on Denver’s PUP list. The veteran lineman is unlikely to debut for the Broncos until after their Week 9 bye, Troy Renck of Denver7 tweets. Compton, 33, signed a one-year, $2.25MM deal. He worked as the 49ers’ starting right tackle for much of last season, replacing the injured Mike McGlinchey.
  • Monday’s game also produced yet another Broncos ACL tear. An awkward collision with a media member on the sideline led to backup linebacker Aaron Patrick suffering that severe knee injury. The Broncos announced Patrick’s setback. Tim Patrick, Javonte Williams, Ronald Darby and running back Damarea Crockett have also suffered ACL tears since training camp. Primarily a special-teamer, Aaron Patrick is in his second season with the team. He arrived as a UDFA out of Eastern Kentucky.

Chargers Re-Signing K Dustin Hopkins

The Chargers were apparently satisfied after Dustin Hopkins‘ mid-year try out last season. The Chargers have agreed to a brand new three-year extension with their kicker, according to Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (on Twitter).

The deal is worth $9MM overall with incentives that can increase his total compensation to $12MM. Meanwhile, he’s already got upwards of $4.6MM locked in and guaranteed.

Washington released Hopkins six games into the 2021 campaign, leading him to the Bolts. He went on to nail 18-of-20 field goal tries in Los Angeles and 3o out of 32 XP attempts. It’s worth noting that his only two missed FGs came from 50+ yards away. Between the Commanders and the Chargers, Hopkins went 30-of-34 last year.

The Chargers have had something of a revolving door at the position over the last five years. Now, they hope to have some stability with Hopkins, who will look to improve on his career 84.6% rate.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 1/1/22

Here are the New Year’s Day activations from and placements on the reserve/COVID-19 lists:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: G Oli Udoh

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: CB Bryce Hall

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Chargers Sign Dustin Hopkins, Waive Tristan Vizcaino

Following their Tuesday kicker workout, the Chargers are making a change at kicker. They signed Dustin Hopkins. To make room for the veteran on their roster, the Bolts cut incumbent Tristan Vizcaino.

Vizcaino beat out Michael Badgley for the Chargers’ kicker gig during the preseason but has struggled mightily with extra points this season. A second-year kicker, Vizcaino will land on the waiver wire.

Washington ended Hopkins’ six-plus-season tenure as their kicker last week, cutting him and going with the untested Chris Blewitt. A 2013 Bills draftee, Hopkins caught on with Washington in 2015 and signed new deals in both 2018 and 2021 to stay on in that role. He will now head to Los Angeles to kick for one of the AFC’s top teams.

After one game with the 49ers last season, Vizcaino made 6 of 7 field goals in his six-game Chargers run. But he accompanied that by connecting on just 10 of 15 PATs. Coming out of their Week 7 bye, the Bolts will have a more seasoned kicker in the 31-year-old Hopkins, who has been in the NFL since 2013.

Hopkins joined Elliott Fry at the Tuesday kicker workout but brings far more experience. This season, Hopkins has made 12 of 14 field goal tries and was 10 of 12 on PATs with Washington. The former sixth-round pick has made at least 81% of his field goal attempts in all but one season — 2020, when he came in at 79% — and has kicked in 93 career regular-season games.

Chargers Audition Dustin Hopkins, Elliott Fry

Coming out of their bye week, the Chargers are looking into their suspect kicker spot. They worked out both Dustin Hopkins and Elliott Fry on Tuesday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Washington released Hopkins last week, opting to go with Chris Blewitt. Hopkins had been Washington’s kicker since 2015. The 31-year-old specialist profiles as an intriguing free agent, and the Chargers have seen newcomer Tristan Vizcaino struggle immensely in his first season with the gig.

Although Vizcaino is 6-for-7 on field goals, he has missed five extra points in six games. Beating out Michael Badgley for Los Angeles’ kicker post, Vizcaino is 10-for-15 on PATs, inviting obvious speculation about his status coming out of the Bolts’ bye. With the Chargers looking like one of the AFC’s top teams, they may try and acquire more stability at the kicker spot entering Week 8.

Fry fared well at this workout, Yates adds, noting the young specialist made 9 of 10 field goals, with his only miss coming from 64 yards (Twitter link). South Carolina’s kicker from 2013-16, Fry has logged many workouts and spent time on practice squads since his Gamecocks eligibility ceased. But he has played in just one game, with the 2020 Falcons, as a pro.

Hopkins made 86% of his field goal tries this season and has hovered around this success rate throughout his career, leading Washington to give him new deals in 2018 and this past offseason. Washington retained Hopkins on a one-year deal worth $2.5MM in March.

WFT To Re-Sign K Dustin Hopkins

The Washington Football Team will re-sign kicker Dustin Hopkins, per JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington (via Twitter). NFL Insider Adam Caplan reports that it will be a one-year, $2.5MM pact with $1.9MM guaranteed (Twitter link).

Hopkins had a rocky start to his pro career. After being selected by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, the Florida State product won Buffalo’s placekicking job as a rookie but sustained a groin injury before the season got underway. He missed the entire 2013 season and then lost his roster spot the following summer, ultimately catching on with the Saints’ taxi squad towards the end of 2014.

He lost New Orleans’ kicking battle in the summer of 2015, but he finally found a home with Washington. He has served as WFT’s kicker for the last six seasons and just wrapped up a three-year, $6.875MM contract that he signed right before free agency opened in March 2018.

Hopkins, 30, did not disappoint in his first year under the new deal, sinking nearly 89.7% of his field goal tries in 2018 and 96.2% of his PATs (both career-highs). But he regressed a bit in 2019 and cratered in 2020, struggling to a 79.4% field goal percentage last season (25th in the league). That wasn’t an ideal platform campaign, but WFT was willing to bring him back just the same.

Now that one of their own priority FAs is back in the fold, Finlay suggests that Washington could try to lock up CB Ronald Darby before free agency opens on Wednesday (Twitter link).