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Instant Analysis: Why the Chargers Traded Dustin Hopkins


You can't keep two kickers on the roster. 

Even if you have two of them who are more than capable of doing the job well.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said as a much last week.

"I think it's a good, tough problem to have, that we have two kickers that are quality kickers in the National Football League, who have both proven themselves," Staley said when asked about the Bolts kicking situation. "Again, we have some time to make that one."

And with roster cutdown day looming Tuesday, the Chargers have now made a decision there.

The Bolts have traded Dustin Hopkins to the Browns for a 2025 seventh-round pick, meaning Cameron Dicker will be the Chargers kicker in 2023.

As Staley mentioned above, the Chargers were in a win-win scenario here. That meant whichever kicker didn't win the job was likely to be traded.

The battle was even as camp began, but an undisclosed injury to Hopkins sidelined him for a bit.

Now that the veteran is healthy, he'll contribute for the Browns, a team that has playoff aspirations in 2023.

Hopkins ended up kicking in 16 games for the Chargers and made 27 of 30 field goals.

What turned out to be his final game will be the most memorable.

In Week 6 of the 2022 season, Hopkins hit four field goals and an extra point — all while gritting through a serious hamstring injury. 

Hopkins' toughness and commitment to his teammates won't be forgotten anytime soon.

"We have so much respect for him. We know that he is hurting. That's the great part about the NFL is those guys, they are committed to our team," Justin Herbert said after that win over the Broncos on Monday Night Football. "He's tough. That's all you can say about him. For him to go out there and play and put up with some pain like that, it's great to see from him."

Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco praised Hopkins on Monday.

"From the day he arrived here, Dustin has been the consummate professional and a teammate anyone would love to have. He's made some big-time contributions to our organization, both on and off the field, and perhaps none more memorable than his game-winning kick last year on Monday night. On behalf of everyone at the Chargers, I want to wish Dustin, Gabby and his entire family continued success in Cleveland," Telesco said in a statement.

The Bolts will now move forward with Dicker, who joined the Bolts midway through the 2022 season and hit a pair of game-winners, including one in his first game in powder blue in Atlanta.

He ended up hitting 19 of 20 field goals overall with the Bolts and continued that success into training camp. Dicker made 62 of 68 kicks during camp practices over the past month.

He also made four field goals and five extra points in preseason games. That means he hit 71 of 77 kicks of late, good for an impressive percentage of 92.2.

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