Kicking it: Panthers re-sign Pineiro, release Gonzalez
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers re-signed free agent Eddy Pineiro on Thursday and released Zane Gonzalez following two injury-riddled seasons.
Pineiro took over as the team’s kicker last season after Gonzalez was injured during a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.
He went on to convert a 94.3% (33 of 35) of his field goal attempts last season, including 19 straight to finish the year. He also made 93.8% (30 of 32) of his extra points.
His 33 made field goals last season are second-most in Panthers history for a single season, behind 37 from John Kasay in 1996. Pineiro's field goal percentage is the second best in club history.
Pineiro went 15 of 16 on kicks of 40 yards or more, including a long of 54 yards.
There was some question as to whether the Panthers would stick with Pineiro after he missed an extra point at the end of regulation and a field goal in overtime in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8. But the Panthers threw their support behind Pineiro and he excelled the rest of the season.
Gonzalez had been kicking well for the Panthers before injuring a quadriceps on the sideline before a Week 16 game in 2021 against Buffalo, leaving Carolina without a kicker for the game. He made 90.9% of his field goal attempts (20 of 22) before the injury.
The following season, Gonzalez again injured himself again in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve, prompting the Panthers to sign Pineiro. Pineiro had worked before for Panthers special teams coordinator Chris Tabor in Chicago.
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Steve Reed, The Associated Press