MARCH 4: Gano’s contract included a $3MM signing bonus and $3.95MM in guaranteed money, tweets Tom Pelissero of USA Today. It’ll count as $1.75MM against the cap in 2014, and includes escalators for the final three years.
FEBRUARY 28: The Panthers have re-signed kicker Graham Gano to a four-year contract, the club announced today in a press release. Gano’s deal, which will keep the kicker under team control through the 2017 season, is worth $12.4MM and could max out at $13MM, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (Twitter link).
“The special teams unit was a large part of our success last year, and we are excited to keep Graham as a part of our team,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement. “Graham has shown range and accuracy in his field goal kicking, and his strong leg has been a weapon for us on kickoffs.”
Gano, 26, had his best NFL season in 2013, converting 24 of 27 field goals for the Panthers, as well as all 42 extra-point tries. He was also in perfect in six attempts from 50+ yards, and ranked second in kickoff effectiveness, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Based on his ’13 success, I’d expect Gano’s new deal to pay him something in the neighborhood of $2-3MM per year.
Gano’s signing means one fewer option on the market for teams on the lookout for kicking help. Steven Hauschka, Jay Feely, Phil Dawson, Adam Vinatieri, and Josh Brown are among the other potential free agents who will hit the open market on March 11 if they haven’t re-signed with their respective clubs.