The Panthers have released Jason Baker, the team's punter for the past seven seasons.
Baker, an 11-year NFL veteran, was responsible for all but four of the Panthers' punts over those seven seasons and every punt over the last four seasons. He ranks as the franchise's all-time leader with 570 punts and 169 punts inside the 20-yard line, while his 43.97 gross average stands second.
"We talked to Jason and his agent and told them that it came down to a salary cap decision," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said. “We appreciate everything he has done for us. He’s been a model Panther since he came to the organization.”
Baker's gross and net punting averages decreased every year since 2006, when he enjoyed a career year with a gross average of 45.7 yards – third best in the NFL – and a franchise-record net average of 39.0 yards.
Baker averaged 42.7 gross yards and 34.1 net yards last season, low-water marks for him in Carolina.
The Panthers acquired Baker in a trade with the Denver Broncos prior to the 2005 season. He kicked for five teams over his first four NFL seasons, debuting with the San Francisco 49ers in 2001.