Browns sign Chandler to compete for kicking job
Adding a veteran leg for training camp, and perhaps some nominal competition for incumbent placement specialist Phil Dawson, the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday afternoon signed itinerant kicker Jeff Chandler to a one-year contract.
Chandler, 26, joins his seventh team on a deal that likely includes a minimum base salary.
Despite being around the league since 2002, and possessing a strong leg, Chandler has only appeared in 13 games and scored 92 points. The former University of Florida standout will provide some relief in camp for Dawson, but will have a difficult time unseating the seven-year veteran.
A fourth-round pick of San Francisco in the 2002 draft, Chandler kicked in six games for the 49ers as a rookie and converted eight of 12 field goal attempts and all 14 extra point tries. But his inconsistency on long kicks, a problem that has plagued him most of his professional career, forced the 49ers to release Chandler in October of that season.
In addition two stints with the 49ers, Chandler has been on rosters in Jacksonville, St. Louis, Washington, Carolina and Miami. He has converted 19 of 27 field goals and all but one of his 36 extra point tries. But on field goal attempts beyond 30 yards, Chandler has missed on eight of 15. Beyond placement kicks, he has averaged 60.2 yards on 59 kickoffs. Chandler left Florida as the leading scorer in Gators history.
Dawson struggled in camp last summer and drew some criticism from rookie coach Romeo Crennel, but rebounded to enjoy an exemplary season. He made 27 of 29 field goals and his 93.1 percent conversion rate was the NFL's second best. Dawson scored 100 points for the third time in his career.
With 135 conversions in 161 career attempts, Dawson ranks among the top 10 kickers in league history in percentage of field goals converted.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.