According to the NFL’s official transaction report, the Kansas City Chiefs made two roster moves on Monday — both of them on the team’s practice squad.
The team has released placekicker Matthew Wright. To take his place on the 16-man taxi squad, the team re-signed hybrid wideout/running back Jerrion Ealy.
Wright’s release likely signals the end of a long period of uncertainty over placekicker Harrison Butker, which began when he injured his ankle during a kickoff in the season opener against the Arizona Cardinals. Ironically, this takes place as the team prepares to return to the venue where questionable field conditions may have played in role in Butker’s injury.
After a failed two-game experiment with Matt Ammendola, the team signed Wright to the practice squad in late September, elevating him to the roster for Kansas City’s games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Las Vegas Raiders. Butker returned to the field for the Week 6 game against the Buffalo Bills, beginning a four-game streak in which he missed at least one field goal or extra point in every matchup. The Chiefs had wanted to keep Wright on the practice squad throughout this period, but the Pittsburgh Steelers poached the backup placekicker after the third game of that stretch.
In late November, Butker went two weeks without a miss — but in the home stretch, had a missed kick in three of the five games leading into Week 18. The team re-signed Wright to the practice squad (and elevated him) before the final regular-season game against the Raiders, after Butker had been listed as questionable with back spasms. But in that game — and the two playoff games since then — Butker made 15 consecutive kicks, including Sunday night’s clutch, 45-yard, last-second game-winner that sent the team to Super Bowl LVII.
Wright’s release allows the team to (once again) re-sign Ealy. Since the end of December, this is the third time the undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss has been released (and subsequently re-signed) to the practice squad.