The Panthers are gauging trade interest in a pair of specialists, punter Andy Lee and kicker Harrison Butker, sources tell Jourdan Rodrigue and Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer.
Carolina acquired Lee and a seventh-round pick from the Browns prior to last season in exchange for a fourth-rounder and fellow punter Kasey Redfern. Lee, 35, appeared in nine games for the Panthers before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury. That health issue allowed Michael Palardy — now Lee’s primary competition — to punt for Carolina over the season’s final seven contests. Prior to going down, Lee averaged 49.1 yards per punt on 39 attempts.
Lee agreed to a pay reduction earlier this year, per the Observer scribes. Originally scheduled to earn $3.43MM and $4.13MM over the next two seasons, Lee will now bring in just $1MM in 2017 and $1.1MM in 2018. That could make Lee relatively attractive on the trade market, especially for clubs in need of specialist but are strapped for cap space.
Butker, meanwhile, is also part of an open competition, as he’s vying to become the Panthers’ placekicker alongside veteran Graham Gano. A seventh-round pick this spring, Butker has only attempted one field goal this preseason, a 51-yarder that he converted successfully. He’s also made both of his extra point tries. For his part, Gano is three-for-four on preseason field goals, and made only 78.9% of his attempts during the 2017 campaign.
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