Browns fans can breathe easily now (maybe).
The Browns waived the inconsistent Billy Cundiff on Saturday due to a knee injury and signed Garrett Hartley to replace him.
The situation at kicker has been in flux all week. On Tuesday, the Browns worked out Hartley, Nate Freese, and Zach Hocker. On Wednesday, special teams coordinator Chris Tabor and the Browns gave Cundiff a vote of confidence following a good practice at First Energy Stadium. On Thursday, Cundiff suffered a knee injury. On Saturday, the Browns cut Cundiff and picked up Hartley.
Browns released Billy Cundiff with an injury settlement. He sprained his knee in practice Thursday.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 13, 2014
In his last five games, Cundiff connected on just 7-of-12 field goals, missing a kick in each game. The 34 year old ranked 29th in the league with a 75 percent mark on field goal attempts (22-of-29).
Hartley has not kicked in a game since December 2013 when the Saints released him. The 28-year-old Texas native worked out for New Orleans this week, too, but the Saints did not sign him.
During his tenure in New Orleans, Hartley helped the Saints win the Super Bowl, but also experienced frustrating inconsistency. The club cut Hartley last season after he missed two short field goals during a failed comeback against the Rams on December 15.
Despite playing for the Saints, who play in a dome, Hartley is a better outdoor kicker statistically. In 26 outdoor games, Hartley is 38-of-43 (88%) compared to 39-of-52 (75%) while kicking indoors. Over the course of his six-year career, Hartley has an overall mark of 81% on field goals and has only missed one extra point out of 177 attempts.
Hartley will have to quickly adjust to the outdoor conditions of First Energy Stadium against the Bengals on Sunday. Fortunately, the weather looks as if it will cooperate. The National Weather Service is calling for a cloudy day with 11-13 mile per hour winds and balmy 45 degrees, so Hartley's first game as a Brown shouldn't present any major difficulties as far as the weather is concerned.