On Labor Day morning, it was reported that the Cleveland Browns were expected to hold kicker tryouts on Tuesday between a pair of former Pro Bowlers: Dan Carpenter and Billy Cundiff. That's when the Buffalo Bills threw a bit of a wrench into our plan.
The Bills were set to roll with rookie kicker Dustin Hopkins as their kicker. Hopkins suffered an undisclosed injury on Monday, but it must have been serious enough for Buffalo to call in Carpenter to the rescue. There are conflicting reports on Carpenter's current status: the Associated Press said that he is being invited to Buffalo for a tryout, while other sources are saying he took off to Buffalo because they were going to sign him. My guess is that Carpenter is being signed by the Bills; why else would he pass up a 50/50 opportunity in Cleveland, a team without a kicker on the roster?
Maybe Cleveland wanted Cundiff all along. This tweet from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports seems to indicate that:
Bills wanted Cundiff after their kicker suffered a short-term injury, but then turned to Dan Carpenter, who set to kick vs. Cundiff in CLE— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) September 3, 2013
Perhaps it went down like this: Buffalo called Cundiff, but he said, "no, thanks, Cleveland basically said they plan on signing me," so the Bills then went after Carpenter. Still, there is no guarantee that the Browns will be satisfied with Cundiff; after all, this is a guy who has a worse career field goal average than Shayne Graham, and also does not thrive with kicks beyond 50 yards. Graham's career field goal percentage is 81.9%, while Cundiff's is 70.9%.
Cundiff will still have at least one competitor, still, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Plain Dealer:
Cabot says that Tavecchio was accurate in training camp for the Packers, connecting on 27-of-31 attempts (side note: who in the world kept those camp statistics?). During the preseason, he was 1-of-2, as he missed a 49-yard attempt. We know how the Browns like going toward the youth movement, so maybe they'll take a chance on Tavecchio.
If the Browns aren't satisfied, there's always a chance they could just bring Graham back. If I had to make a guess right now, I'd say there's a 50% chance Cundiff (a former Brown himself) gets signed, and a 25% chance that each player, Tavecchio and Graham, to be signed. We may know by the end of the day Tuesday who the winner is, at which point the Browns will have to waive another player from the 53-man roster.