Prodigal son returns: Browns bring back former draft bust Cade York

Cade York struggled in 2022 but is back for another round with the Browns

Cleveland Browns, Cade York
Cleveland Browns, Cade York / Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Cade York is back. The Cleveland Browns, who released York in 2023 in favor of Dustin Hopkins, have re-signed the former LSU kicker.

Mary Kay Cabot was the first to report it on Saturday afternoon. Of course, with Hopkins under contract still, York is likely a practice squad candidate at best — but it's still a fun story to see him return after playing for two teams following his release.

York was with the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants practice squads at different points last season. He never got into a regular season game but still believes he's moved past the struggles that plagued him during his rookie campaign.

Browns took a huge swing drafting Cade York

Andrew Berry was tired of kickers struggling to keep a job with the Browns, so he used a fourth-round pick on Cade York out of LSU in 2022. York was supposed to be the permanent solution following an excellent career with the Tigers and even started his time in the NFL with a statement kick.

In Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, the Browns had surrendered a late lead to Baker Mayfield. Cleveland would have never heard the end of it had Mayfield pulled off the win in his first game after being traded but York made sure that didn't happen. The rookie nailed a 58-yarder with 13 seconds left to give his team a 26-24 win.

After that, things went in the wrong direction for York. He was just 24-of-32 on field goal attempts (75 percent accuracy) and missed two extra points. He returned to the team in 2023 and originally had no competition in camp. The goal was to build his confidence but that didn't work. York struggled throughout camp and the preseason, leading to a trade for Dustin Hopkins.

Cleveland was satisfied with Hopkins, who was 33-of-36 on the season (91.7 percent) and made all eight kicks beyond 50 yards. He nearly set the record for the most points in franchise history but missed the final two games and the playoffs with a hamstring injury.

Hopkins has had issues with health, missing time with the Los Angeles Chargers as well in 2022, which led to them sticking with Cameron Dicker. If he's healthy, he's the clear choice over York but there's a chance the Browns might need to turn to York at some point if history repeats itself.

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