Many teams started signing players to reserve/futures contracts yesterday, allowing the organization to retain (routinely) young, practice squad players throughout the offseason. Here are the latest reserve/futures contracts:
September 13th, 2022 at 2:40pm CST by Sam Robinson
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 (Twitterlinks).
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 Verityas 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.
Tristan Vizcaino went through a busy week. The former Chargers kicker scheduled workouts with the Patriots, Raiders and Ravens. The Patriots are adding the young specialist to their offseason roster.
Considering the sudden interest level, it does not come as a surprise Vizcaino will exit the work week with a deal. He will replace Quinn Nordin, whom the Patriots waived Friday. Vizcaino, 25, worked out for the Pats during their minicamp this week.
The Patriots have used Nick Folk as their kicker for the past two-plus seasons, signing the veteran in 2019 and keeping him on as their primary post-Stephen Gostkowski option since. They re-signed Folk this offseason. Vizcaino, who has kicked for the 49ers and Chargers over a two-year career, should represent competition and insurance going into training camp. Though, the 37-year-old incumbent should still be viewed as the likely Pats 2022 kicker.
The Raiders scheduled a Vizcaino workout this week, while the Ravens were prepared to have him kick at their minicamp next week. This marks a bounce-back opportunity for Vizcaino, who struggled in his extended Chargers audition to start last season. He missed five of the 15 extra points he attempted with the Bolts, who replaced him with Dustin Hopkins near the midseason point. Vizcaino was 6 of 7 on field goals as a Charger, however.
He served as the Washington Huskies’ kicker and punter in 2017 but did not kick in the NFL between then and his one-game 49ers gig in 2020. The Patriots will be Vizcaino’s seventh team. Although he has only kicked in games with the Bolts and 49ers, the Chino Hills, California, native has also spent time with the Bengals, Cowboys, Bills and Vikings since 2019.
Nordin signed with the Pats as a UDFA last season. More teams carried practice squad kickers than usual over the past two years, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting active rosters weekly. While Folk kicked in every Pats game last season, the Pats gave Nordin a futures contract earlier this year. Nordin has not practiced this offseason and was waived with a non-football injury designation, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks). The Pats also considered signing kicker Lucas Havrisik.