CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns aren’t ready to kick Chase McLaughlin aside just yet.
After choosing not to tender McLaughlin as a restricted free agent last month, Cleveland re-signed the kicker on Tuesday and could have him back for a second season after an up-and-down first one.
McLaughlin made 16 of 21 field-goal attempts last season, but his struggles down the stretch — 4 of 9 in his last five games — had the Browns looking for other options. They don’t have a better one to this point, so they’re bringing back the 26-year-old to compete for the job.
The Browns also have kicker Chris Blewitt on the roster but could bring in another kicker either in free agency or the draft.
McLaughlin did make all four of his field-goal attempts over 50 yards and went 36 of 37 on extra points. He has converted 37 of 49 field-goal tries and 67 of 69 extra points in his NFL career, which has already included stints with the Browns, New York Jets, Jacksonville, San Francisco, the Los Angeles Chargers, and Indianapolis.
Cleveland’s special teams didn’t produce nearly enough during a disappointing 8-9 season in 2021. General manager Andrew Berry has upgraded the return game, signing Pro Bowler Jakeem Grant to a three-year contract as well as punter Corey Bojorquez, who led the league in gross average in 2020.