Minicamp has concluded for the Cleveland Browns, and after trying out four players during the three-day program, the team has decided to sign one of them: kicker Patrick Murray.
It's not surprising in the least to see the team sign Murray, as teams typically head into training camp with two kickers on their roster. The Browns were trying out a bunch of young kickers in May, but when the latest one they claimed off waivers decided to retire instead, the search continued for who would compete with last year's kicker, Travis Coons, in 2016.
Murray (5-7, 182 lbs) had an impressive season in 2014 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was 20-of-24 that season (83.3%) including 5-of-6 from beyond 50 yards, and was also perfect on extra points (31-of-31) prior to them being moved back. He suffered an injury during training camp last year and was placed on injured reserve for the season. The Buccaneers drafted a kicker in the second round this year, so they waived Murray in mid-May.
If Murray still has a strong leg, he should be viewed as serious competition to Coons. As accurate as Coons was under 50 yards last year, his long-distance kicks kept getting block in part due to the low trajectory on his kicks. If Murray doesn't have that issue, then even if he's a little less accurate on kicks in general, I'd take him over Coons; those long-distance kicks can really help out strategically at the end of a half or a game.
To make room on the roster for Murray, the team waived WR David Richards. Richards had just been signed near the end of May.