The timing might have been coincidental, but it is noteworthy nonetheless. Two days after rookie kicker Chad Ryland missed a 35-yard field goal that would have sent the New England Patriots’ game against the New York Giants to overtime, the team brought in several kickers for tryouts.
A total of five place kickers were among the 13 free agents invited to work out for the team: rookies Tanner Brown and B.T. Potter, as well as veterans Matthew McCrane, John Parker Romo and Parker White.
Brown, 23, went undrafted out of Oklahoma State earlier this year despite hitting 88.6 percent of his field goal attempts and all 78 extra points in his two years as a Cowboy. He joined the Los Angeles Rams, but after going 2-of-4 on four field goals in preseason was released ahead of roster cutdowns.
Potter, 23, spent his college career at Clemson where he made 75.3 percent of his field goal attempts and 99.6 percent of his point-after tries. He also went undrafted this spring, taking his talents to the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. Potter went on to make two of three field goals in preseason and was cut in late August.
Romo, 26, was a UDFA in 2022 and spent time in New Orleans, Detroit, and Chicago, as well as the XFL. He has yet to appear in a regular season game, but has a bit of preseason experience. Between his first two year in the league, he attempted a combined four field goals and extra points in an exhibition setting, making three.
White, 25, entered the NFL as a rookie free agent in 2022 and did not sign his first contract until January of this year. He spent time with the Green Bay Packers, but has yet to appear in an NFL game in any capacity. Before turning pro, he was a five-year starter at South Carolina, making 72.7 percent of his field goals and 98.7 percent of his PATs.
McCrane, 29, is the most experienced kicker brought in for tryouts. The 2018 undrafted free agent out of Kansas State spent time with five NFL teams and two XFL franchises. He actually appeared in five regular season games, but they all came as a rookie and saw him. have limited success: between his stints in Arizona, Oakland and Pittsburgh that year, he went just 8-of-12 (66.7%) on field goal attempts.
The Patriots added Chad Ryland in the fourth round of this year’s draft, and kept him on their 53-man roster over incumbent veteran Nick Folk. And while he did have some promising moments throughout the season, the youngster has made just 12 of his 18 field goal attempts for a success rate of 66.7 percent.
Following the Patriots’ 10-7 loss to the Giants, head coach Bill Belichick gave a harsh performance review for the rookie.
“Chad is a very talented player,” he said, “but this is two weeks in a row that we basically missed extra points. It’s not good enough.”
Besides the five kickers, the Patriots also had eight other players in town on Tuesday. Punters Michael Turk, Corliss Waitman, and Ty Zentner were in town, as were long snappers Dalton Godfrey and Carson Tinker, and wide receivers Kaylon Geiger, Kalil Pimpleton, and Matthew Sexton.
New England currently has no spots on its active roster, but has an opening on its 16-man practice squad. Even after re-signing quarterback Will Grier to the developmental squad, the team has one open spot.