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 kickerMatt 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.
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.
The Patriots acknowledged some of their previous draft mistakes today. The team let go of three 2021 draft picks in wide receiver Tre Nixon, linebacker Will Sherman, and linebacker Cameron McGrone, and they even let go of a 2022 draft pick in sixth-round running back Kevin Harris. However, perhaps the biggest move was releasing tight end end Devin Asiasi. After waiving fellow 2020 third-round tight end Dalton Keene earlier this month, Asiasi was let go today. Despite his third-round status, Asiasi only saw time in 10 games for the Patriots in two years. With Asiasi and Keene out of the picture, it was expected that Lil’Jordan Humphrey would make the squad as a hybrid WR/TE. However, for the time being, the Patriots will roll with only two tight ends in Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
Terrance Mitchell started 29 games over the past two seasons in stints with the Browns and Texans, and he had a chance to compete for a starting gig in New England. However, despite all the uncertainty surrounding the position, the veteran wasn’t able to make his mark, leading to a surprising release. Justin Bethel is another surprising cut, as the veteran has established himself as a special teams ace in recent years.
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.
Here are a couple of free agents getting try outs around the AFC:
If free agent kicker Tristan Vizcaino is still unsigned after a busy week that entailed planned workouts with the Patriots and Raiders, the Ravens plan on bringing the 25-year-old in for their minicamp next week, according to Tom Pelissero. While the Ravens are obviously set with the most accurate kicker in NFL history, Justin Tucker, they made headlines years ago when they took 2018 undrafted free agent Kaare Vedvik and flipped him to Minnesota one year later for a fifth-round pick. General manager Eric DeCosta may be interested in working that same magic on Vizcaino.
Free agent pass rusher Derick Robersonhas been working out with the Colts this week, according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indy Star. Roberson has made some noise in his very limited playing time in the NFL. As an undrafted rookie in 2019 with the Titans, Roberson totaled 3.0 sacks, 3.0 tackles for loss, and 3 quarterback hits while only appearing in three games. After earning a start in 2020, Roberson appeared in five games last year, recording 1.5 sacks, 3.0 tackles for loss, and 4 quarterback hits.
The Colts are also auditioning free agent defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. this week. Cox entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Panthers, appearing in 19 games over three years as a reserve defensive lineman. In 2019, Cox was waived by Carolina, signing with the Browns five days later. Cox saw his most successful stint in the NFL while in Cleveland, starting two of the six games he played for the Browns. In those six games, Cox recorded half a sack, 2.0 tackles for loss, and 5 quarterback hits. He signed with the Bills as a free agent last offseason but only appeared in one game after spending time on injured reserve with an Achilles injury.
After failing to secure a full-time kicker gig in the years immediately prior to his New England arrival, Nick Folk has re-established himself with the Patriots. The veteran has made at least 92% of his field goal tries in his two full seasons with the team.
The team took some time to look into a younger leg Monday, however. Matthew Wright, Tristan Vizcaino and John Baron worked out for the Pats, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus tweets. Vizcaino is busy this week; the Raiders are auditioning him Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com notes (via Twitter).
While Vizcaino has yet to hold a full-time role for a lengthy stretch, Wright spent last season as the Jaguars’ primary kicker. The Central Florida alum made 88% of his field goal attempts, including two late 50-plus-yarders in London, giving the Jags their first victory last season. Jacksonville waived Wright, 26, last month, going with Ryan Santoso and rookie UDFA Andrew Mevis.
Vizcaino started last season with the Chargers but proved shaky on extra points, making just 10 of 15 PATs in his abbreviated Los Angeles stint. The Bolts cut bait midway through the season, capitalizing on Washington’s decision to can Dustin Hopkins. Vizcaino, 25, also kicked in a game with the 49ers as a rookie in 2020. San Diego State’s kicker from 2016-18, Baron has not kicked in the NFL previously. He was, however, part of the Bears’ much-publicized post-“double doink” kicking competition in 2019.
The Pats gave Folk a two-year, $5MM deal in March, making him the heavy favorite to enter the season as the Pats’ kicker. Folk, 37, stabilized New England’s briefly unsteady post-Stephen Gostkowski kicker spot in 2019 and finished last season going 36-for-39 — including 11-for-11 from 40-49 yards — on field goal efforts. Folk did miss five PATs (42-for-47). Folk, who did not kick in 2018 and spent part of 2019 in the Alliance of American Football, is tied to a $2.2MM cap number in 2022.
Like Folk, Daniel Carlson is signed to an extension. The Raiders have just Carlson on their roster at the position. The Raiders have the former Vikings draftee signed to a long-term deal; he made an NFL-high 40 field goals (on 43 attempts) last season and has hit at least 93% of his tries in each of his three Raider years.
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 Fryat 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.
August 31st, 2021 at 1:48pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The Money Badger era in Los Angeles is over. The Chargers are cutting kicker Michael Badgley, a source told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link).
It appears that Tristan Vizcaino has won the competition to be Los Angeles’ starting kicker this season. A 2018 UDFA from Miami, Badgley had a lot of success as a rookie after he was signed by the Chargers midway through the year, and it initially looked like they’d found a diamond in the rough. He quickly became a fan favorite while making 15/16 field goals, including a 59-yarder.
In 2019 he missed eight games with an injury, and regressed a bit when on the field. This past season, he regressed a lot more. He struggled the whole season, making only 24 of 33 field goal attempts and 36 of 39 extra points. He missed some crucial kicks, including one at the end of regulation that would’ve given the Chargers a huge win over the Saints early in the season on Monday Night Football.
They went on to lose in overtime. Vizcaino was also a 2018 UDFA and he’s spent a lot of time on offseason rosters, but has only ever kicked in one regular season game. That came last year with the 49ers, when he made all three field goal attempts and both extra points.