The New England Patriots returned to the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium on Wednesday to start preparations for their upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Not present for the session were center Ted Karras and defensive tackle Byron Cowart — as well as a kicker: since releasing Kai Forbath on Monday after just one game with the team, the Patriots are without a place kicker on both their 53-man team and their practice squad.
They did, however, actively try to fill the void created by Forbath’s release earlier this week: New England put in a waiver claim on Chase McLaughlin, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. McLaughlin was recently released by the San Francisco 49ers after he appeared in three games as a short-term replacement for injured Robbie Gould and was successful on seven of eight field goal attempts as well as all eight of his extra point tries.
The 49ers opted to wave the undrafted rookie, who began his pro career with the Buffalo Bills and later also spent time with the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Chargers, earlier this week after Gould’s return. McLaughlin did find a new home quickly, though, even though it was not in New England: with the Patriots holding just the 29th spot in the current waiver claim order, the team had to watch him get picked by the 17th-ranked Indianapolis Colts.
Thus, the Patriots’ search for a place kicker continues. There are certainly options, ranging from re-signing Forbath or one of his two predecessors — Nick Folk (more likely) and Mike Nugent (less likely) — this season to bringing other outside options on board. Either way, the position remains one of turnover for the team ever since it had to place four-time Pro Bowler Stephen Gostkowski on season-ending injured reserve in early October.