More moves this Monday afternoon as the legal tampering window opened for the 2023 season. First, the Panthers have reportedly made their decision on which kicker they will use this upcoming season.
Zane Gonzalez will return as Panthers kicker next season, per sources.— Will Kunkel (@WillKunkelFOX) March 13, 2023
Eddy Pineiro is will likely garner a lot of attention on the free agent market after a great 2022.
The Panthers thought they had found their kicker of the future after a rock solid 2021 season from Gonzalez. He was rewarded with a 2 year extension. However, his 2022 season was claimed by a groin injury, leaving the Panthers to scramble to find a replacement. They found one in Eddy Pineiro, who ended up having a rock solid season himself, ranking 3rd in the NFL in field goals made and 2nd in field goal %. He did miss a couple of key field goals that likely would have added at least one or two wins to the win column, but was a model of consistency as a whole.
Second piece, the Panthers have given Sam Franklin a tender offer (he was already a restricted free agent).
Panthers tender restricted FA Sam Franklin at the “right of first refusal” level. It’s one-year deal worth $2.6M; CAR can match if the special teams standout gets an offer sheet elsewhere. https://t.co/tjcJ5af4qU— Joe Person (@josephperson) March 13, 2023
What this tag means is the Panthers have the ability to match an offer he may get from elsewhere. Franklin was an important depth piece at safety, but he turned a lot of heads as a special teams player, allegedly almost making the Pro Bowl in that role. The Panthers added another safety in Vonn Bell today, so this would give them some familiar depth as the team retools their secondary for Jeremy Chinn’s return to a hybrid role.
Sound off in the comments, Panthers fans!