We still do not know who the New England Patriots’ next kicker will be, but it will not be Chase McLaughlin.
McLaughlin, who made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts and 8 of 8 extra points as Robbie Gould’s replacement in San Francisco before being waived by the 49ers on Tuesday, was claimed by the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday.
The undrafted rookie had been viewed as a potential replacement for now-former Patriots kicker Kai Forbath, especially after the team did not immediately re-sign Nick Folk.
Folk, who underwent an emergency appendectomy last week and subsequently was released, still had a stall in the Patriots locker room last Friday, but his nameplate has been removed. (For what it’s worth, that locker still had the same helmet and shoulder pads inside of it. It’s possible the Patriots attempted to claim McLaughlin, failed and now intend to bring Folk back aboard.)
It’s unclear what McLaughlin joining the Colts will mean for Adam Vinatieri, who’s struggling through the worst season of his 24-year NFL career. Vinatieri reportedly was limited in practice Wednesday with a knee ailment, so this could simply be an injury insurance. But if Indy opts to cut ties with the 46-year-old, would the Patriots — Vinatieri’s employer from 1996 through 2005 — consider a reunion?
Vinatieri has converted just 68 percent of his field-goal tries this season (17 of 25) and has missed a league-high six extra points on 28 attempts.
The Patriots have used four different kickers this season (Stephen Gostkowski, Mike Nugent, Folk and Forbath) and currently do not have one on their 53-man roster. They host the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Thumbnail photo via Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports Images