The Browns have waived McLaughlin, Dan Labbe of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. The team also waived Chris Blewitt, moves prompted by the Browns' selection of fellow kicker Cade York in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. McLaughlin, who made 15 of his 21 field-goal attempts and 36 of 37 extra-point tries in 2021 (his only season with Cleveland) now will look for an opportunity to compete for a roster spot elsewhere.
McLaughlin will be challenged for the starting placekicker job after Cleveland selected Cade York in the fourth round of the 2022 Draft, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. McLaughlin appeared to stabilize the Browns' kicking woes early in 2021 but faded in the second half. He converted six of 12 field-goal attempts from Week 7 and beyond and finished just 4-for-10 from between 40 and 49 yards. Enter York, the first kicker drafted and considered the top one on the board, who was successful on 15 of 18 attempts for LSU last season, including 5-for-7 from 50-plus yards. McLaughlin enters offseason activities as the incumbent, but the job will be York's to lose.
Cleveland re-signed McLaughlin on Tuesday. McLaughlin wasn't initially tendered a contract for the 2022 season, but the Browns have now re-signed him as a free agent. He served as the team's starting kicker in 2021, when he made his first nine field-goal-attempts of the year but then went 6-for-12 down the stretch.
McLaughlin became an unrestricted free agent Wednesday after the Browns elected not to tender him a contract for 2022, Brandon Little of SI.com reports. McLaughlin served as Cleveland's kicker during the 2021 campaign and made his first nine field-goal attempts of the season, but he went 6-for-12 on field goals down the stretch, with all six misses coming between 40 and 49 yards. The 25-year-old has already kicked for six NFL teams since going undrafted out of Illinois in 2019.
McLaughlin did not attempt a field goal and converted all three extra-point kicks in Week 18's 21-16 win over the Bengals. McLaughlin converted his final seven kicks (all extra points) of the season, but a spate of misses in the second half left his hold on the job tenuous. A waiver wire pickup in the offseason, the 25-year-old McLaughlin won the job out of camp and initially stabilized Cleveland's shaky kicking game before cracks emerged. He made 15 of 21 field-goal attempts and missed six of 10 between 40 and 49 yards. There's a reason why he's been with six organizations in six NFL seasons. The Browns are likely to hold a kicker competition next summer, which could include McLaughlin if they choose to re-sign him. Cleveland general manager Andrew Berry did not rule out drafting a kicker, Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal reports, and the team signed kicker Chris Blewitt to a reserve/future contract.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|2||09/18||New York Jets||31||9.41|
|5||10/09||Los Angeles Chargers||27||8.47|
|6||10/16||New England Patriots||1||5.44|
|12||11/27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12||6.79|
|16||12/24||New Orleans Saints||17||7.47|