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Panthers extend kicker Zane Gonzalez

Zane Gonzalez

CHARLOTTE — The Panthers brought back one of the bright spots of last season, solidifying another spot in advance of free agency.

The team on Wednesday agreed to a two-year deal with kicker Zane Gonzalez, securing him before he became an unrestricted free agent next week.

Gonzalez hit 17 straight field goals to finish last season, before a freak pre-game quad injury at Buffalo sent him to injured reserve.

He hit 20-of-22 field goals after joining the Panthers in Week 2 of the regular season. That 90.9 percentage was ninth in the league among qualifying kickers. He also hit 22-of-23 extra points.

Gonzalez also became a reliable producer of touchbacks, helping stabilize the coverage game.

He won special teams player of the week honors in Week 8 and 10 last season, for a pair of perfect 4-of-4 days against the Falcons and Cardinals. Against the Falcons, he hit a career-high 57-yarder, which was the second-longest field goal in franchise history.

The Panthers have already re-signed pending free agents Frankie Luvu, Ian Thomas, and J.J. Jansen, and have 18 other unrestricted free agents.

Teams can begin negotiating with other teams' free agents next Monday, and the league year begins Wednesday, at which point teams can sign players and execute trades.

Gonzalez finished the 2021 season ranked ninth in the NFL with 20-of-22 (90.9 percent) field goals and 22-of-23 on extra points.

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