Zane Gonzalez

Cardinals Add K Mike Nugent To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez might be hearing footsteps. Or, perhaps, he just has some backup. On Friday, the Cardinals signed veteran kicker Mike Nugent to the practice squad, per a club announcement.

Nugent first made his Cardinals debut over a decade ago in 2009, appearing in a pair of games. Now 38, he owns a career 81% field goal completion rate across 168 games. Last year, he had a cup of coffee with the Patriots as a part of their revolving door of kickers. The veteran converted five of eight FGs with the Pats, who released him after a pair of missed field goals against the Browns. The Patriots won that October contest to advance to 8-0, but Bill Belichick wasn’t taking any chances.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, missed two of his three field goal tries in the season opener. Still, the one he converted on was from 56 yards out, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury says he’s “very comfortable” with the 25-year-old.

After topping the Niners in Week 1, the Cardinals will look to go 2-0 this Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

Cardinals’ Zane Gonzalez Signs RFA Tender

Zane Gonzalez is back in the fold for the Cardinals. The fourth-year kicker signed his second-round tender Thursday.

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets passed last week, effectively tying Gonzalez to the Cardinals. He is set to earn $3.26MM on the tender, which marks a significant raise from his $645K 2019 salary.

After Gonzalez’s rough September 2018 day in New Orleans led to the Browns cutting him, he stabilized his career with the Cards. Becoming their kicker during the 2018 season, Gonzalez kicked in all 16 games for Kliff Kingsbury‘s team last season. He bounced back from an abbreviated 2018 campaign, making 31 of 35 field goals and 34 of 35 PATs.

Barring an extension, the Arizona State alum will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2018 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Place Second-Round Tender On K Zane Gonzalez

The Cardinals are placing a second-round tender on kicker Zane Gonzalez, per SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter).

After appearing in five games for Arizona during the 2018 season, Gonzalez got into all 16 games during the 2019 campaign. He ended up having the best season of his professional career, connecting on 88.6-percent of his field goal tries and 97.1-percent of his extra point attempts.

The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Arizona State spent the first year-plus of his career with the Browns.

Cardinals Cut Andre Smith, Bene Benwikere

The Cardinals made a host of moves Monday afternoon. Another of Patrick Peterson‘s top sidekicks is now out of the picture, with Arizona making the decision to waive cornerback Bene Benwikere.

Additionally, the Cards are cutting veteran tackle Andre Smith. They also placed Phil Dawson and linebacker Josh Bynes on IR and are elevating kicker Zane Gonzalez from the practice squad. The team announced the moves.

Smith’s inconsistency will end his Arizona tenure, per Steve Wilks (via ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss, on Twitter). He started eight games at right tackle for the Cardinals, including Sunday’s 45-10 loss to the Chargers, but has not played to the level he displayed during his earlier Bengals days. The 31-year-old edge blocker will head to the waiver wire, joining the less experienced Benwikere.

The Cards already parted ways with Jamar Taylor, acquired in hopes he could fill the Peterson-sidekick role the team has long had issues with, after Benwikere beat him out for that job. The young journeyman started eight Arizona games this season, intercepting one pass and making 51 tackles. Benwikere’s eight starts represent a career high in his five-season NFL run.

Dawson’s been dealing with a hip injury this season. It forced the 43-year-old kicker to miss a game earlier this month. The Cardinals’ kicker over the past two seasons, the 20-year veteran is a free agent after this season. He’s attempted a career-low eight field goals, making five. This will end Dawson’s least accurate season.

Previously going with rookie Matthew McCrane to fill in for Dawson, the Cardinals will now turn to Gonzalez. The Browns waived Gonzalez after a rough Week 2. The 2017 seventh-round pick has not kicked in a game since.

Despite being retained on a low-level deal, Bynes was playing ahead of both Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick this season. He made 75 tackles, registered two sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown in a standout season. Bynes is signed through the 2020 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign Zane Gonzalez To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez has found a new gig. The Cardinals announced that they’ve signed the free agent kicker to their practice squad.

The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Arizona State hasn’t had the strongest start to his career. He appeared in 16 games as a rookie with the Browns, connecting on 15 of his 20 field goal attempts and 25 of his 26 extra point tries. The 23-year-old struggled in his two games this season, and the Browns released him following a dreadful Week 2 where he missed a pair of field goals and two extra points.

Later reports indicated that the kicker was dealing with a slightly torn groin, and Gonzalez ended up earning a $35K injury settlement from Cleveland. The injury had a recovery timeline of three weeks, so Gonzalez is presumably good to go.

Of course, he’ll have a tough time cracking the Cardinals roster. With Phil Dawson expected to return from injury this week, the team moved on from Matt McCrane yesterday. The 43-year-old Dawson hasn’t done anything to lose his job this season, but Arizona could be eyeing Gonzalez for 2019 should the veteran decided to hang up his cleats.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/24/18

Today’s workout updates, all courtesy of veteran NFL reporter Howard Balzer (on Twitter):

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

  • T Andrew Lauderdale

Oakland Raiders

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Zane Gonzalez To Begin Workouts Soon

Former Browns kicker Zane Gonzalez is nearing a return to health and should take part in auditions before the end of October, reports Adam Schefter of ESPN.com.

Gonzalez was waived following a dreadful Week 2 performance in which he missed two field goals, including a 53-yarder that would have sent the game to overtime, and two extra points, including one that would have given the Browns a one-point lead with less than 90 seconds remaining. Cleveland, of course, was searching for its first victory since the 2016 season. A seventh-round pick in 2017, Gonzalez converted 75% of his field goal attempts and 25-of-26 of his extra points during his rookie campaign.

Subsequent reports indicated Gonzalez was dealing with a slightly torn groin, so the Browns waived him with an injury designation. That injury had a recovery timeline of three weeks, and after meeting with a physician to confirm the diagnosis, Gonzalez received a $35K injury settlement from Cleveland, per Schefter. Gonzalez reportedly suffered the injury during pregame warmups in Week 2, but failed to alert the Browns’ coaching staff until halftime.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Browns, Steelers, Ravens

Prior to the Browns waiving kicker Zane Gonzalez, Hue Jackson did not know the second-year specialist was dealing with a groin injury. The third-year Browns HC (via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk) said he knew “nothing about an injury whatsoever” and that no one from the Browns’ medical department told him Gonzalez was hurt, which could set up for an interesting situation as Cleveland pivots to another kicker. It hasn’t been reported that Gonzalez was waived with an injury designation, and Florio posits an injury grievance from Gonzalez could be in the cards. Gonzalez’s groin malady required an MRI, but he still attempted a 52-yard field goal in the final seconds Sunday. This information also doesn’t put Jackson in an especially positive light, given Gonzalez’s struggles on Sunday — ones that led directly to Cleveland’s 21-18 loss.

Shifting from a player the Browns just cut to one they opted not to draft, here’s the latest from the AFC North:

  • Sam Darnold did his best to not offer much regarding his draft-night mindset, but he did say he expected the Browns to take him at No. 1 due to the amount of time John Dorsey and Co. spent with him leading into the draft, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com notes. The Browns spent time with all four of the top quarterback prospects before narrowing their decision to Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen. “We spent time with (Darnold) and his family, and obviously, every quarterback. We feel very comfortable with the guy that we selected in Baker, and I’m sure they do with him,” Jackson said. “He’s a fine prospect and is going to be a fine player. I think they got a good one, but we feel we have a really good one, too.”
  • The Ravens are not counting on having C.J. Mosley available for their Week 3 game against the Broncos, David Ginsburg of the Associated Press notes. The three-time Pro Bowl linebacker suffered a bruised left knee in Baltimore’s loss in Cincinnati. Rookie Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor were called to action in place of Mosley, who’s only missed two games (both in 2016) in his career. A fourth-round pick, Young looks like the Sunday starter, per Ginsburg.
  • Broncos rookie UDFA Phillip Lindsay sits third among the league’s rushing leaders going into Week 3’s Baltimore trip, and Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic tweets the Colorado product narrowed his post-draft choices to the Broncos and Ravens. Lindsay (178 rushing yards on 6.1 per carry) is part of a two-rookie backfield in Denver. The Ravens opted to retain their status quo at running back, with Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon and Javorius Allen back.
  • Allen is now on IR, though the Ravens would’ve preferred to keep both he and cornerback Maurice Canady on their active roster rather than shelve them for at least two months, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic notes. Neither’s injury is a season-ending setback, and Dixon is a candidate to return from IR later in the season.
  • Le’Veon Bell‘s agent, Adisa Bakari, attended the Steelers‘ season-opening tie in Cleveland, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes the vibe between he and Steelers brass wasn’t particularly uncomfortable. Bakari also represents Tyrod Taylor. Nothing on the Bell front’s transpired in several days, and Pittsburgh’s bracing for a long absence.
  • Mike Tomlin expressed frustration with punter Jordan Berry, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly (on Twitter), and he may be on the verge of losing his job. The Steelers brought in free agent punters Jeff Locke and Justin Vogel for workouts today, Kaboly tweets. Berry’s been Pittsburgh’s punter since 2015, and the Steelers signed him to an extension in February.
  • With Joe Mixon out for a bit, the Bengals brought in a host of running backs for Tuesday workouts. Thomas Rawls, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Troymaine Pope and Matthew Dayes trekked to Cincinnati for auditions, Sirius XM’s Adam Caplan tweets.

Browns To Waive K Zane Gonzalez

As expected after the Browns’ signing of rookie kicker Greg Joseph, Zane Gonzalez will no longer be on the roster.

The Browns are waiving the second-year kicker, Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com reports (on Twitter). Gonzalez endured a brutal afternoon in a narrow Browns loss to the Saints on Sunday and will head to the waiver wire, or potentially the Browns’ IR.

This transaction could involve an injury designation. Gonzalez has been kicking with a groin injury that required a Monday MRI. It’s not clear if an injury waiver will be required, which would send Gonzalez to Cleveland’s IR if he went unclaimed, but that’s possible.

Joseph will take over kicking duties in Cleveland in advance of the Browns’ Thursday-night game against the Jets. Gonzalez missed two field goals and an extra point in New Orleans and had his game-winning field goal attempt blocked in the rain against the Steelers in Week 1. He’s played a big role in why the Browns are 0-1-1 and not 2-0 to start the 2018 slate.

Browns To Sign K Greg Joseph

Zane Gonzalez‘s rough day in New Orleans has prompted the Browns to sign another kicker. They’re bringing rookie UDFA Greg Joseph aboard, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Joseph worked out for Cleveland prior to Week 1 and then again on Monday morning. The Florida Atlantic product landed with the Dolphins shortly after the draft but could not make their 53-man roster.

Indications coming out of Cleveland earlier today pointed to Gonzalez being replaced. The Browns also worked out Cairo Santos and Blair Walsh but will go with a far less experienced player. Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in a three-point loss to the Saints. The Browns remain in search of their first win since Christmas Eve 2016 but have seen kicking woes potentially stop them from being 2-0 to start 2018.

Gonzalez, though, has been battling a groin injury, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter), helping to explain his recent trouble. Gonzalez will undergo an MRI Monday. This could lead to the Browns waiving him with an injury designation.

Joseph was Florida Atlantic’s kicker from 2014-17. He made 71.4 percent of his field goals in each of his final two Owls seasons and connected on 64 of 68 extra points as a senior.

The Browns chose Gonzalez in the seventh round out of Arizona State last year, and if he’s off the roster soon, this will mean yet another previous regime’s investment is out of the picture. John Dorsey‘s continued to go in that direction since taking over in Cleveland. Gonzalez made 15 of 20 field goals and 25 of 26 PATs as a rookie but struggled immensely against the Saints, essentially negating any progress he’d made in Year 1.