New England has added a new member to their practice squad. Although five kickers auditioned for the Patriots on Tuesday, the final choice was not among them. New England added PK Matthew Wright to the practice squad on Thursday. He replaces Mathew Sexton, whose time in Foxboro only lasted a day.
Patriots placekicker Chad Ryland has struggled. In the past two games he has missed costly, makable field goal attempts in each. New England selected Ryland in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft out of Maryland. He has hit only 12-of-18 field goal attempts (66.7%). However, Ryland has made all 15 extra point attempts, and has a 69.2% touchback rate on kickoffs.
Matthew Wright was signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a UDFA from Central Florda in 2019. The Steelers released Wright at the end of training camp. However, in 2020 he was signed back to the Pittsburgh practice squad. He was elevated to the active roster for three games in 2020. Wright was perfect as a rookie, making his only field goal attempt and going seven-for-seven on extra points.
Wright spent 2021 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He hit 21-of-24 field goal attempts, and 13-of-15 extra points. In Week 6 of the season, he earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. He connected on field goals of 40, 54 and 53 yards. The 54-yard field goal was to tie the game with 3:40 remaining. The 53-yard make was to win the game as time expired. Wright became the first player in NFL history to hit two field goals of over 50 yards in the last four minutes of the fourth quarter.
In 2022, Wright had stints with both the Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. He has also been on the practice squad or offseason rosters of the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons. He has played in 23 NFL games. Wright hit 40-of-46 field goal attempts in his career (86.0%) with a long of 59. He is 35-of-37 on extra points (94.6%). On kickoffs, Wright has only a 26.8% touchback rate.
The 27-year old was teammates at UCF was fellow Patriots practice squad player Trysten Hill.