The Panthers auditioned kickers Chandler Catanzaro, Lirim Hajrullahu, and Louie Zervos on Thursday, according to the league’s transactions wire. All three could serve as insurance for current kicker Joey Slye, who just missed a 54-yarder that would have sealed the deal against the Vikings.
Slye’s job isn’t necessarily in jeopardy. His 77.4% field goal conversion doesn’t jump off of the page, but two of his attempts were from 65+ yards out. Take those out of the equation, and he’s got a much more respectable ~83% rate. In general, the Panthers have confidence in Slye — his 8-of-11 success rate from 50+ yards last year allowed them to part ways with the talented, yet pricier, Graham Gano.
Catanzaro is the biggest name of the workout bunch, though we haven’t seen him on the field in a while. The 29-year-old’s last live action came towards the end of the 2018 season. In 2019, he hooked on with the Jets and retired soon after (we can’t blame him). This year, he had a cup of coffee with the Giants, but lost out to Gano. Catanzaro is best known for his early work with the Cardinals — he sank 87.9% of his kicks as a rookie in 2014 and 90.3% of his tries in 2015.
After the bye, Panthers will look to bounce back against the Broncos.
In a move that may or may not make the final episode of the latest Hard Knocks season, the Rams have decided on a kicker.
The team made the decision Friday to waive kickers Austin MacGinnis and Lirim Hajrullahu. This will leave Sam Sloman, a seventh-round pick out of Miami (Ohio) as Greg Zuerlein‘s successor.
Sloman separated from the other two competitors over the past week, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (on Twitter). Sloman made 87% of his field goals as a senior for the Redhawks last season.
The Rams signed MacGinnis and Hajrullahua as UDFAs this year. This will mark the first time since 2011 the Rams will head into a season without Zuerlein as their kicker. They opted to let the Pro Bowl specialist walk in free agency, when he signed with the Cowboys.
The Rams have agreed to sign kicker Lirim Hajrullahu, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Hajrullahu, as Pelissero explains, comes to Los Angeles with a CFL all-star resume and an unbelievable life story.
Hajrullahu was an 8-year-old boy when the Kosovo War flared up. One year later, his family managed to escape the danger by moving to Canada. In spite of all the hardship, Hajrullahu grew up to become a two-time CFL all-star and a league champion.
Along with Hajrullahu, the Rams alsoannounced the signing of kicker Austin MacGinnis, who most recently played with the Dallas Renegades of the XFL. In the XFL’s partial season, he nailed all ten of his field goal tries.
The Rams are on the lookout for a new leg after Greg Zuerlein joined the Cowboys late last month. Young GZ has turned in some fantastic seasons over the years, but he made only 82% of his tries last year. The Rams are looking for more consistency, and they hope to find it with either Hajrullahu or MacGinnis.