The Los Angeles Chargers‘ kicking competition is over, with second-year player Cameron Dicker beating out veteran Dustin Hopkins as the team’s starting placekicker.
The Chargers found a new home for Hopkins after the news became public. Los Angeles traded the former Washington placekicker to Cleveland on Monday for a seventh-round pick, closing the book on his 16-game spell at SoFi Stadium.
Dicker the Kicker
Signed to the Chargers‘ practice squad last November, former Texas kicker Dicker has received plenty of attention for his catchy nickname — but the Chargers are hoping that, over a full season, he can make the difference in many of the close games Los Angeles plays.
Dicker joined the Chargers’ active roster after in injury to Hopkins in late November 2022. In the regular season, he converted all 24 of his attempted extra points, along with 21 of his 22 field goal attempts. In the playoffs, he made three field goals against Jacksonville but missed on another as the Jaguars came back from a 27-0 deficit to win 31-30.
The Chargers have a long history of devastating missed field goals and extra points sailing wide of the mark in crucial moments, and head coach Brandon Staley surely doesn’t want a repeat of last season’s historic playoff collapse.
Hopkins welcomed in Cleveland
Meanwhile, in the Midwest, Hopkins is joining a Cleveland Browns team looking to put a disappointing 2022 season far behind them.
Hopkins is a career 85 percent kicker over 109 NFL games and has appeared in the postseason twice — in 2015 and 2020, with the Commanders franchise. The Browns lost several close games in 2022 — contributing to their last-place finish in the AFC North — and perhaps some clutch kicking could back up Deshaun Watson and co. in important divisional matchups.