Browns cut York, trade for PK Hopkins
Published 9:56 pm Tuesday, August 29, 2023
CLEVELAND (AP) — Cade York is being kicked aside by the Browns.
After a rough exhibition season for the highly touted second-year kicker, York is being released by Cleveland after the team acquired veteran kicker Dustin Hopkins in a trade with the Los Angeles Chargers, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Monday.
York, who went 4 of 8 on field-goal tries and appeared to lose confidence with every kick this preseason, will be waived on Tuesday when NFL teams are required to trim their rosters to 53, said the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team has not finalized all its cuts.
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With the Sept. 10 season opener quickly approaching, the Browns sent a seventh-round pick in 2025 to the Chargers for Hopkins, who was available after losing a training camp competition with Cameron Dicker.
York’s release came two days after another poor preseason game.
The 22-year-old was almost perfect in practice, but he struggled in games. After returning from a shin injury in the first quarter when he missed an extra point, York made a couple of kicks but had a potential game-winning field goal blocked in the final minute in a 33-32 loss Saturday in Kansas City.
York expressed his frustration afterward, saying he wanted “to be a weapon,” but also snapping at a reporter’s question.
The Browns did everything they could to make it work with the talented York, who was inconsistent as a rookie after being drafted in the fourth round in 2022 from LSU.
His NFL career had a storybook start as York booted a 58-yard field goal in the final seconds to beat Carolina in the opener. But his struggles soon followed and he finished 24 of 32 on field goals and missed two of 37 extra points.
York’s struggles at least partly contributed to the Browns firing special teams coordinator Mike Priefer and adding Bubba Ventrone.
The Browns chose not to bring in a second kicker to camp, perhaps hoping that a show of faith might keep York on track.
Cleveland coach Kevin Stefanski had professed confidence in York throughout camp, but his tone changed on Sunday when he wouldn’t commit to him being the starter in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Browns went to work on finding a replacement and landed the 32-year-old Hopkins, who was available after he was beaten out this summer by Dicker. The Chargers signed Dicker last season after Hopkins got hurt.
Dicker had the better training camp and exhibition season, allowing the Chargers to recoup another draft pick from a team needing a kicker.
The Browns were borderline desperate because of York’s struggles and Hopkins at least gives them a proven kicker to start the season. Hopkins spent seven years with Washington and the past two in Los Angeles.
A sixth-round pick by Buffalo in 2013, Hopkins has made 190 of 224 of his field-goal attempts.
He played in six games last season before suffering a season-ending right quadriceps injury during a Monday night game against Denver on Oct. 17. Despite the injury, Hopkins made four field goals, including a game-winning, 39-yarder in overtime.
“From the day he arrived here, Dustin has been the consummate professional and a teammate anyone would love to have,” Chargers general manager Tom Telesco said. “He’s made some big-time contributions to our organization, both on and off the field, and perhaps none more memorable than his game-winning kick last year on Monday night.”