Browns Waive Ex-Steelers, Raiders Kicker

Matt McCrane

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Matt McCrane of the Raiders kicks a 28-yard field goal to defeat the Cleveland Browns in overtime on September 30, 2018.

On Tuesday the Cleveland Browns claimed—and were awarded—former New York Jets placekicker Chase McLaughlin on waivers. To make room for McLaughlin, the Browns waived kicker Matt McCrane, who spent almost all of the 2020 season as a “protected” member of Cleveland’s practice squad.

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Matt McCrane’s NFL Journey

McCrane has yet to win a full-time placekicking job in the NFL, despite kicking pretty reliably at each NFL stop, however brief.

He originally came into the league in April 2018, signing with the Arizona Cardinals as a rookie undrafted free agent out of Kansas State after breaking Martin Gramatica’s school record for most career field goals made. But he was released before the beginning of the regular season, after which he caught on with the then-Oakland Raiders, where he converted five of nine field goal attempts in three games (with all of the misses 40 yards or longer).

Shortly afterwards he re-joined the Cardinals and converted all three of his extra-point attempts while filling in for an injured Phil Dawson in a loss to the Raiders.

Then, in late December 2018 the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to replace an injured Chris Boswell, and McCrane went on to connect on three of three field goal attempts and his only extra-point attempt in a 16-13 season-ending victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. In fact, his game-winning kick kept Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes alive during that fateful Week 17, at least until the Ravens beat the Browns, keeping the Steelers out of the 2018 postseason tournament.

McCrane was subsequently re-signed to a Reserve/Future contract by Pittsburgh, but was released in May 2019. Later that year he was drafted by the New York Guardians of the XFL, who employed him until his contract was terminated when the league suspended operations in April 2020. Then he was added to Cleveland’s practice squad, serving as an insurance policy in case of an injury or illness to Cody Parkey.

Heading into training camp, McLaughlin and Parkey are the two placekickers currently on Cleveland’s roster, while the Steelers have just one kicker on their 90-man roster—the aforementioned Boswell.

Jordan Berry vs. Rookie Pressley Harvin III

However, the Steelers do have a competition brewing at punter between incumbent Jordan Berry—who re-signed with the team in March—and super-size seventh-round pick Pressley Harvin III, who played collegiately at Georgia Tech and seems destined to be a fan favorite, if he can make the team.

Harvin will need to beat out Berry, 30, who was released by the Steelers prior to the 2020 season but returned in October after veteran replacement Dustin Colquitt failed to serve as an upgrade.

Per, Berry’s 2021 contract calls for him to be paid a salary of $990,000 with a cap number of $950,000. If he is released after June 1st it would put $100,000 in dead money on Pittsburgh’s salary cap while saving $850,000 in cash. Harvin has yet to sign his rookie contract but will inevitably be a less expensive option.

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