Washington Football Team releases veteran kicker Dustin Hopkins, opts for untested Chris Blewitt

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Football Team released veteran kicker Dustin Hopkins, opting for a player who last kicked in a game five years ago.

The team signed Chris Blewitt, who was signed to their practice squad last week. He has never kicked in an NFL game and last played for Pitt in 2016. In four years with the Panthers, Blewitt made 69.6 percent of his field goals; he also missed four extra points in his last two seasons combined.

Hopkins was having one of his better seasons with 12 field goals in 14 attempts. His 85.7 percent success rate ranked 12th in the NFL.

Dating back to last season, he had made 25 of his last 29 kicks. But he badly missed a 42-yard attempt in Sunday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, which followed two missed extra points earlier this month in a win over Atlanta.

Washington coach Ron Rivera had stuck with Hopkins, despite previous struggles -- he made just 79.4 percent of his kicks in 2020. Rivera liked Hopkins' leg strength but wanted to see more consistency.

On Monday, frustrated with his team's performance to start the season, Rivera said he needed to alter his approach. He was vague about what that meant, but today's move suggests there could be less tolerance for inconsistencies, though the team's 2-4 start has featured poor play in a number of areas.

Hopkins had been with Washington since 2015, making 84 percent of his kicks during that time. That ranks 19th among kickers with at least 100 attempts since that season.