Matthew Wright

Chiefs To Add K Matthew Wright

The Chiefs identified their Matt Ammendola replacement. They are adding former Jaguars kicker Matthew Wright to their practice squad, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.

Wright will move into position as Kansas City’s Harrison Butker fill-in leg. It is not known if Butker will be able to return for Week 4, after missing the past two games, but the Chiefs decided Ammendola — after two short-range misses in Sunday’s loss to the Colts — was not the answer.

The Jaguars waived Wright earlier this year, after he spent most of last season as their kicker. Wright, 26, made 21 of 24 field goal tries during his Jags tenure. His most notable contribution came during the team’s most recent London game, which involved two Wright 50-plus-yard makes in the fourth quarter. That effort gave Urban Meyer the first of his two NFL wins, but the Jags replaced Wright this year. While Jacksonville has encountered trouble staffing its kicker gig in the months following Wright’s May exit, this marks his first opportunity since that departure.

Ammendola kicked in two games for the Chiefs this season. After making each of his five kicks (two field goals, three extra points), the former Jet missed a PAT and a 34-yard field goal Sunday in Indianapolis. Each of Wright’s three 2021 misses came from beyond 40 yards. He was 4-for-6 from beyond 50.

The Chiefs have been without Butker since Week 1, when he suffered an ankle injury early in Kansas City’s win in Arizona. Although the team used safety Justin Reid as its emergency kicker against the Cardinals, it naturally opted for trained NFL legs since.

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.

Panthers Work Out Five Kickers

Zane Gonzalez was injured on the sideline during Friday’s preseason contest, and the Panthers are now eyeing some reinforcement at kicker. According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter), the Panthers worked out kickers Taylor Bertolet, Brian Johnson, Chase McLaughlin, Eddy Pineiro, and Matthew Wright.

After seeing time in 15 games across two seasons with five different teams, McLaughlin got a chance to be the Browns’ full-time kicker in 2021. He converted 15 of his 21 field goal attempts and 36 of his 37 extra point attempts. With Cleveland selecting Cade York in the fourth round of the draft, McLaughlin was ultimately cut back in May.

Wright got into 14 games for the Jaguars last year, connecting on 21 of his 24 field goal attempts and 13 of his 15 XP tries. After converting 82.1 percent of his FG attempts in 16 games with the Bears in 2021, Pineiro saw time in five games with the Jets last year. He made all eight of his field goal attempts and nine of his 10 extra point attempts.

Johnson appeared in seven games between New Orleans and Washington last year, connecting on all 10 of his field goal attempts (but only nine of his 13 extra point tries). Bertolet, an undrafted free agent back in 2016, has spent time with five NFL teams but hasn’t seen time in a regular season game.

Gonzalez injury himself on Friday night while warming up on the sideline. It was later revealed that he suffered a significant groin injury, with Ellis Williams of the Charlotte Observer writing that it could be a season-ending injury.