Trade Grade: Browns Officially Replace Cade York in Deal With Chargers

The Cleveland Browns officially have a new starting kicker. But was a trade the right move?

Dustin Hopkins is the new Cleveland Browns kicker after Monday's trade with the Chargers.
Dustin Hopkins is the new Cleveland Browns kicker after Monday's trade with the Chargers. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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We knew Cade York had to be replaced. Kevin Stefanski knew Cade York had to be replaced. And now Cade York has been replaced.

The Cleveland Browns sent a seventh-round pick to the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday to acquired Dustin Hopkins in a trade. Is this the move the Browns needed? Let's grade the trade.

Browns Dustin Hopkins Trade Grade: B+

I know this isn't an earth-shattering deal. Upgrading from York to Hopkins isn't going to make the Browns a sudden favorite to win the AFC North or anything. And I'm not sure there's any trade in the world that a team could make to acquire a kicker that would be worthy of an A+ grade. But this was a pretty darn good one.

First of all, let's establish that this is absolutely a big step up from York.

York ranked 30th among 33 qualifying kickers last season with a 75.0% field goal percentage. He then went on to go just 50% in the 2023 preseason. Hopkins’ worst ever season was 79.4%, and for his entire career he’s made 84.8% of his field goals.

Distance of kicks can obviously skew percentages some what, but using Pro Football Focus' field goal grade, this is an upgrade from No. 32 to No. 18 in the NFL.

And what about the cost?

Well short of a pick swap, this is about the least you can spend in a trade. A seventh-round pick isn't meaningless, but the odds you get a contributor in the seventh are pretty slim, even at kicker. For context, we spent a fourth-round pick on Cade York. So we've upgraded with a guy who costs significantly less draft capital, and who still has two years on his contract.

The only thing to be said for that cost is that we're likely to see a handful of kickers hit the market with roster cuts happening ahead of Tuesday. But the Browns saw someone they liked available at a fair price, and you'd way rather they make that deal than wait and miss out.

Hopkins may not singlehandedly win us any games, but Cade York was certainly capable of singlehandedly losing them.

This gets a solid B+ from me.

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