Graham Gano

NFC East Rumors: Rivera, Sanders, Cowboys

Ron Rivera announced last week he is battling lymph node cancer. The new Washington HC will attempt to coach the team through his treatment process, though Jack Del Rio is in place as the emergency fill-in. Rivera will undergo a mixture of chemotherapy and proton therapy, and John Keim of ESPN.com notes the veteran coach’s treatment schedule will feature five per week over a seven-week period. Upon hiring Del Rio, Rivera prioritized having someone with head coaching experience on his staff — which he did not have in Carolina. Del Rio served as an acting head coach for part of the 2013 season, leading the Broncos while John Fox recovered from heart surgery.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • Gerald McCoy‘s Cowboys tenure may not be over. Despite the organization taking advantage of the injury protection it included in the Pro Bowl defensive tackle’s contract, and releasing him months after he signed the three-year deal, McCoy would like to play for the Cowboys in 2021, Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The 10-year veteran indicated he will help the younger defensive linemen still on this year’s Cowboys roster, Ed Werder of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter). McCoy underwent successful quadriceps surgery last week, per Watkins.
  • A key component in the fantasy drafts taking place worldwide this week, Miles Sanders is currently not practicing with the Eagles. And the team has been vague as to why. Philadelphia’s starting running back is dealing with a “lower-body injury,” according to the team. However, the second-year back is expected to be ready to play by Week 1, Tim McManus of ESPN.com notes. Having lost Jordan Howard in free agency and seeing the Seahawks sign one of their UFA targets, Carlos Hyde, the Eagles are set to rely on Sanders more than they did last season. The Eagles were also interested in Devonta Freeman, and while the ex-Falcons Pro Bowler remains available, the team is going with Boston Scott and Corey Clement as its backup backs at this point.
  • Graham Gano‘s Giants deal is worth up to $2.5MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The Giants guaranteed their new kicker $1MM. This is more money than the team gave Chandler Catanzaro, whose Giants stay lasted barely three weeks. Gano has 10 years’ experience, though he missed all of last season with a knee injury.

Giants Cut Chandler Catanzaro

The Giants have released kicker Chandler Catanzaro, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). That job now belongs to former Panthers kicker Graham Gano, who spent years playing under GM Dave Gettleman. 

[RELATED: Giants Sign K Graham Gano]

Catanzaro, 29, hooked on with the Jets last year. After a rocky training camp and equally rough start to the preseason, he announced his retirement. He returned to the game last month with New Jersey’s other team, but his stay was short-lived.

Catanzaro nailed 87.9% of his kicks as a Cardinals rookie in 2014 and 90.3% of his tries in 2015. His success rate dipped to 75% in 2016, but bounced back a bit with the Jets in 2017, making 83.3% of his kicks and all of his PATs. Then, he dipped once again. His three-year deal with the Bucs was torn up pretty quickly after he missed two field goals in a loss to the Redskins, ending his Tampa Bay tenure with a weak 73.3% success rate. His last live action came with the Panthers towards the end of the 2018 campaign.

Gano, meanwhile, has been out of football since he fractured his femur towards the end of the 2018 season. Before that, he was tremendous in 2017, his last full season. Gano nailed 29 of his 30 field goal tries for a league-leading 96.7% conversion rate.

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Giants Plan To Sign K Graham Gano

Lawrence Tynes was the Giants’ placekicker from 2007-12, though an injury limited him to two games in 2008. Now, he’s breaking news for Big Blue.

Tynes reports that the Giants are bringing in kicker Graham Gano for a visit (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the team is planning to sign the 33-year-old specialist, who was released by the Panthers last month (Twitter link).

New York, of course, has experienced some turmoil at the kicker position this year. Aldrick Rosas, the team’s kicker over the past three seasons — including a Pro Bowl campaign in 2018 — was cut by the Giants following a hit-and-run incident earlier this summer.

To replace Rosas, the Giants brought in Chandler Catanzaro, who appeared to be primed to claim New York’s kicking job. But assuming Gano is signed, there will be a legitimate competition between the two vets.

Gano was tremendous in his last full season in 2017, sinking 29 of his 30 field goal tries for a league-leading 96.7% conversion rate. That performance earned him the first Pro Bowl bid of his career, and it also helped him secure a four-year, $17MM deal. Unfortunately, a fractured femur suffered towards the end of the 2018 season laned Gano on IR, and he was unable to get back on the field in 2019. Before his release, though, his recovery was said to be progressing well.

Catanzaro, meanwhile, was a productive full-time kicker as recently as 2017 and does have several very productive seasons under his belt, but after a difficult preseason with the Jets last year, he announced his retirement. He came out of retirement to hook on with New Jersey’s other club, but he may be hard-pressed to beat out a healthy Gano.

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Panthers Release K Graham Gano

The Panthers have released Graham Gano, according to a social media post from his wife (Twitter link via Joe Person of The Athletic). The veteran kicker was slated to make $3MM this year.

Joey Slye, meanwhile, is under contract for just $675K. It’s a cost-cutting maneuver for Carolina, though the team will be left with even more dead money on the books. The Panthers have saved $2.8MM while taking on a leftover $1.5MM charge, to be dispersed over the next two years. All in all, the Panthers overhaul has saddled them with nearly $43MM in dead money in 2020.

Gano was tremendous in his last full season in 2017, sinking 29 of his 30 field goal tries for a league-leading 96.7% conversion rate. That performance earned him the first Pro Bowl bid of his career, and it also helped him secure a four-year, $17MM deal. Before his release, Gano had the fifth-highest AAV ($4.25MM) of any kicker in the NFL.

Now, the job belongs to Slye. Known for his strong leg, Slye nailed 78.1% of his kicks in 2019, with an 8-of-11 success rate from 50+ yards. He also missed four extra point tries, but the Panthers seem to think that he’ll tamp that number down moving forward.

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Graham Gano’s Recovery Progressing Well

Panthers kicker Graham Gano is progressing well in his recovery from knee surgery, special teams coordinator Chase Blackburn tells Alaina Getzenberg of the Charlotte Observer. Gano was placed on IR towards the end of the 2018 season with a fractured femur, and though he was on the field during the early stages of training camp in 2019, he was unable to shake the injury and ultimately went under the knife.

Joey Slye took over kicking duties in Gano’s absence last year, hitting 78.1% of his field goal attempts, not a particularly strong mark. He also missed four PATs.

Gano, meanwhile, was tremendous in his last full season in 2017, sinking 29 of his 30 field goal tries for a league-leading 96.7% conversion rate (with his only miss coming from 50-yard territory). That performance earned him the first Pro Bowl bid of his career, and it also helped him secure a four-year, $17MM contract from Carolina the following offseason. His AAV of $4.25MM positions him as the fifth-highest-paid kicker in the game.

Because injured players have been allowed to be in team facilities even during the pandemic, Gano has been able to do some kicking work in familiar surroundings. Head athletic trainer Kevin King reported that Gano looks good, and it sounds as if he and Slye will be battling it out this summer.

“The (kicking) battle as far as that’s concerned, I mean, in reality, we’re in a very, very blessed situation, because we got two very capable kickers with really talented legs,” Blackburn said. “There’s plenty of teams around the NFL right now that would be very excited to have the competition that we have going. But at the biggest part right now, I haven’t seen (Gano) kick or anything, we’re just working on this offseason program and we’re just trying to finish this strong.”

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Panthers Set 53-Man Roster

The Panthers have officially set their 53-man roster, and there are few major surprises on the list. One of the most notable names is running back Cameron Artis-Payne, who spent the past four years in Carolina. The team also moved on from fellow offensive veteran Aldrick Robinson, who finished last season with five touchdown receptions for the Vikings.

Otherwise, the other notable names include recent draft picks, like 2018 seventh-round wideout Terry Godwin and 2017 fifth-round cornerback Corn Elder.

The rest of the Panthers’ roster moves are below:

Released:

Waived:

Waived/Injured:

Placed on IR:

Panthers Place Graham Gano On IR

The Panthers have placed kicker Graham Gano on injured reserve (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com). There was some discussion about Gano being carried on IR, but they’ll move on from him instead and turn to Joey Slye.

Gano, a kicker with a solid track record, was not a trade candidate because of his injury and his high cap number (roughly $3.7MM).

Slye, a Virginia Tech product, auditioned for the Bucs last year but ultimately remained unsigned. He’s impressed the Panthers enough to get a crack at the job for 2019, and potentially beyond if he performs well.

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Panthers To Place Graham Gano On IR?

Graham Gano, one of the highest-paid kickers in the league, may be headed to the injured reserve, as David Newton of ESPN.com writes. Gano, who also finished the 2018 season on IR, continues to deal with a sore knee.

The team could carry Gano on its initial 53-man roster and then put him on IR, which would make him eligible for a return later in the season. As Newton observes, Gano is not a trade candidate because of the injury and his high cap number (roughly $3.7MM).

If Gano is not ready for Week 1, the Panthers will likely turn to Joey Slye, unless a more appealing kicker becomes available during final cutdowns. Slye, a Virginia Tech product, auditioned for the Bucs last year but ultimately remained unsigned.

He hooked on with the Giants in May, but Big Blue subsequently waived him. He signed with the Panthers at the beginning of this month and has impressed in the preseason, converting all six of his field goal attempts and both of his extra point chances. He could win the job with a strong showing in Carolina’s preseason finale tonight.

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Panthers Place K Graham Gano On IR

On Wednesday, the Panthers placed kicker Graham Gano on injured reserve. The move means that Gano’s season is over and Chandler Catanzaro will continue as the team’s lead leg

Gano, 31, has been with the Panthers since 2012. The Panthers value him more than your average kicker and even entertained the possibility of using the franchise tag on him in the offseason. Instead of paying him near the top of the market for one year, however, they signed him to a new four-year deal worth $17MM in March.

In 12 games this year, Gano connected on 14 of 16 field goal tries (87.5%) and 30 of 33 extra point attempts (90.9%). It was a good showing, but one that pales in comparison to his 2017 campaign. Last year, he nailed 29 of his 30 field goal tries for a league-leading 96.7% conversion rate with his only miss coming from 50-yard territory.

Gano’s contract suggests that he will return as the Panthers’ kicker in 2019. In the meantime, Catanzaro has two more games to showcase himself. Those contests will come against the Falcons and Saints to round out the year.

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Panthers Re-Sign K Graham Gano

The Panthers won’t be using the franchise tag on Graham Gano. Carolina has locked up the kicker with a four-year deal worth $17MM, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The pact includes $9MM guaranteed.

Heading into the offseason, outsiders assumed that the Panthers’ primary franchise tag candidate would be guard Andrew Norwell with an outside possibility that defensive tackle Star Lotulelei could be hit with the one-year placeholder. Instead, Gano was reportedly the only player in the mix for the tag. This year, the NFL set the tag for kickers at $4.939MM. That’s significantly cheaper than the offensive line tag ($14.077MM) and the defensive tackle tag ($13.939MM).

In theory, the Panthers can now use their franchise tag on another player now that Gano has been re-signed. However, everything we’ve heard up until this point indicates that the Panthers will allow both Norwell and Lotulelei to explore the open market.

Last year, Gano led the league in field goal percentage as he nailed 96.7% of his attempts en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance. He also led the league in touchbacks with 84.8% of his kickoffs resulting in the opposing team starting from the 20-yard line.

In terms of total value, Gano’s deal ranks fourth behind Dan Bailey, Ryan Succop, and Stephen Gostkowski amongst kickers. However, his average annual value of $4.25MM makes him the second-highest paid kicker in the NFL, trailing only Gostkowski. His total guarantee of $9MM puts him third in that category behind Justin Tucker and Gostkowski and just ahead of Succop.

After a shaky 2016, a lucrative long-term deal did not seem possible for Gano. Two seasons ago, Gano made just 30 of 38 field goal attempts and used a draft pick on Harrison Butker to open up a kicking competition. Today, Gano stands as one of the highest-paid players at his position.

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