The Cleveland Browns are loaded with talent and boast depth at nearly every position. However, the one place the Browns would like to improve at is at kicker, where journeyman Chase McLaughlin is currently holding down the starting role.
McLaughlin performed admirably in camp and the preseason but ended up winning the starting role by default when Cody Parkey went down with an injury. Parkey had previously started for the Browns and it was thought that he had a leg up in the competition before injuring his quad, which later led to his release.
The Browns brought in former Jets kicker Chris Naggar this week but will continue to keep an eye on available specialists. One name the Browns are linked to is former Carolina kicker Joey Slye. In a recent article breaking down “Best Free-Agent Option Remaining for Every NFL Team,” Bleacher Report selected Slye as the Browns’ best option.
It would behoove the Browns to add another seasoned kicker to the mix, if only for competition’s sake. Joey Slye, who spent the last two seasons in Carolina, would be a great choice.
Slye attempted 68 field goals and 71 extra points during his time with the Panthers. While his numbers aren’t overly impressive (79.4 percent of field goals made, 90.1 percent of extra points), he would at least add another veteran presence to Cleveland’s kicking competition.
The 25-year-old kicker was signed to the Texans practice squad on Tuesday but could always end up in Cleveland if the Browns like him enough.
Browns Going With McLaughlin for Week 1
McLaughlin is a career 78.6 percent field goal kicker and has hit 31 of his 32 career extra points. However, McLaughlin hardly inspired confidence in the Browns’ final preseason game, doinking a 56-yard kick off the uprights and shanking a PAT badly.
“I think it’s pretty cut and dry — it’s a make or miss league,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters after the game. “That’s not easy. It’s a challenging kick and we wanted to give him a swing at it.”
The Browns have committed to McLaughlin for at least Week 1 against the Chiefs.
“We go into Game 1 with Chase for sure,” Stefanski said. “It is a competition at every position throughout the season, but the plan was always to have two kickers on the roster.”