Eddy Pineiro

Panthers K Eddy Pineiro Absent From OTAs

Absences around the NFL with respect to offseason workouts receives attention at a number of positions, but kicker is generally not one of them. In the case of Eddy Pineiro, though, the start of Panthers OTAs marked the next step in his decision to remain away from the team.

Pineiro has been absent throughout all of Carolina’s offseason, program, per Joe Person of The Athletic (subscription required). One year remains on his contract, and he is due to make $2MM in 2024. That falls well short of the top of the kicker market, and Pineiro will aim to land a raise on a new deal.

The 28-year-old began his NFL career with the Raiders, but his debut came as a member of the Bears. His Chicago campaign in 2019 was strong in terms of both field goals (23-of-28) and extra point attempts (27-of-29), but he did not see the field the following year. In 2021, Pineiro kicked for the Jets following an unsuccessful attempt to land the gig in Washington.

That was followed by a one-year Panthers deal signed in August 2022. Pineiro followed special teams coordinator Chris Tabor to Carolina after working alongside him in Chicago. The move allowed him to fill in for the injured Zane Gonzlezand it proved to be an effective one for team and player. Pineiro connected on all but two of his field goal attempts and two of his extra point kicks in 2022.

As a result, the Panthers made the unsurprising decision to retain the Florida product on a two-year accord. Last year, Pineiro saw his field goal (86.2%) and extra point (85%) accuracy dip, although overall his Panthers tenure has seen him remain one of the league’s most accurate kickers. Eight of Pineiro’s counterparts average at least $5MM per season on their respective deals, and he could be attempting to reach that level of compensation or at least another extension which moves him closer to the top 10.

Of course, the Panthers do have another kicker on their offseason roster. The team signed Harrison Mevis as a UDFA last month, and he is now in place to handle all kicking duties given Pineiro’s ongoing absence. The position will be one to monitor as the offseason progresses.

Panthers Sign UDFA Missouri K Harrison Mevis

After the draft this weekend, the Panthers made the call to bring in some competition for their specialists group. Specifically, the team made the call to sign undrafted free agent kicker Harrison Mevis or, as he was better known at Missouri, the “Thicker Kicker,” according to Joe Person of The Athletic.

Mevis, earning his nickname due to his 5-foot-11, 243 pound stature, served as the Tigers’ primary kicker for the last four years. Over his four-year collegiate career, Mevis made 147 of 148 extra point attempts while converting 86 of 103 (83.5%) of his field goals attempts.

He gained popularity after his first two seasons with the team, in which he made all 69 extra points that he attempted and missed only five of 45 field goal attempts. Over his final two years in Columbia, though, Mevis missed six kicks in each season. Some of his recent struggles with accuracy came from the team’s expanded trust in his range. Mevis was known for his big leg, making 12 successful kicks over 50 yards. He even booted a game-winning 61-yarder as time expired to avoid overtime and walk off a ranked Kansas State team in his senior year.

In Carolina, he arrives to provide competition to the Panthers’ kicker of the past two years, Eddy Pineiro. Pineiro is entering the second year of a two-year contract he earned after converting 33 of 35 field goal attempts in his first season with the team in 2022. Pineiro has a conversion percentage of 89 in his career and is known for having a big leg himself, topping out at 56 yards in the NFL. After starting his career a perfect five-for-five from over 50 yards, Carolina tested him this year, and he responded by making five-of-seven from that distance.

Still, after seeing Pineiro miss four field goals last year and five extra points over the last two, it appears they find it useful to bring in a bit of competition. Pineiro reportedly was not in attendance for Carolina’s voluntary minicamp last week, per Person, so bringing in some added competition may be intended to light a fire under Pineiro and get him back and working on his craft.

Not only is Mevis being signed by the Panthers as an undrafted free agent, though, but he’s also being signed to a multi-year deal. So, it appears that he will get a real chance to earn the kicking job. Regardless, Mevis will come into camp looking to show the NFL that he can kick in the big leagues.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/8/23

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Signed: WR Johnny King
  • Waived: T Chim Okorafor
  • Activated from active/PUP list: WR Devon Allen

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Waived/injured: CB Andrew Whitaker

Washington Commanders

Flowers, who agreed to terms with the Patriots earlier today after a workout, suffered a foot injury in October of last season. That setback cut short a Dolphins run after four games. Flowers, who will turn 30 next week, last played for the Patriots in 2018.

McNichols joined Duke Johnson, Brian Hill and Jason Huntley at a recent 49ers workout. The 49ers are without Elijah Mitchell for what is expected to be a short stretch. A five-year veteran, McNichols most recently saw action for the Titans in 2021, helping the team as a pass-catching back (28 grabs for 240 yards) while Derrick Henry missed time with a foot fracture.

Allen suffered an injury while competing in the opening rounds of the 110-meter hurdles competition at the USA Track and Field Championships in July. The two-time Olympian owns the sixth-fastest hurdle time this year (13.04 seconds) but missed a key chunk of Eagles camp. This marks his second bid to make Philadelphia’s 53-man roster. Allen, 28, spent last season on the Eagles’ practice squad and stayed with the team via a reserve/futures contract in February.

The Panthers’ regular kicker, Eddy Pineiro, is battling a groin injury. Carolina gave Pineiro, their 2022 kicker, $2.25MM guaranteed earlier this offseason. The Jaguars’ primary kicker in 2021, Wright kicked in four Steelers games and two Chiefs contests last season.

A rookie UDFA, Whittaker suffered a torn patellar tendon in a recent Seahawks practice, KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. Matthews also sustained a season-ending injury — a torn ACL — during a Texans workout, Wilson adds (on Twitter).

Panthers Re-Sign K Eddy Pineiro, Release K Zane Gonzalez

Eddy Pineiro will be receiving an extended stay in Charlotte. The Panthers have re-signed the veteran kicker on a two-year deal, per a team announcement. In a corresponding move, fellow kicker Zane Gonzlez has been released.
Pineiro signed with Carolina last summer, reuniting with special teams coordinator Chris Tabor. The pair worked together in Chicago, making Pineiro a logical target for the Panthers in their bid to find a replacement for the injured Gonzalez. The latter missed the entire 2022 campaign, but is now healthy.

In his absence, Pineiro fared well. The 27-year-old converted 33 of his 35 field goal attempts, good for a rate of 94.3%. That figure ranked second in the league amongst full-time kickers, and included a streak of 19 consecutive makes following two critical misses in a Panthers loss to the Falcons which had playoff implications in the NFC South.

This new deal will give Pineiro a degree of stability after he had one-year stints with the Bears and Jets. Prior to and in between that time, he also signed deals with the Raiders and Colts, though he never made any regular season appearances with those teams. After his success during his first Panthers campaign (which included going 30-for-32 on extra points), it was reported that Pineiro was the favorite to be retained over Gonzalez going into next season.

To little surprise, then, the former will have the chance for his first multi-year stint kicking for any one team in the NFL. The latter, meanwhile, will look to catch on with a new team set to hold a competition in training camp for a full-time spot.

NFC South Notes: Bucs, QBs, Maye, Panthers

Tom Brady‘s retirement shoved the Buccaneersvoid-years bill to 2023, and the $35.1MM cap hit will complicate the team’s plans to replace the all-time great. Tampa Bay is more than $55MM over the cap, as of Wednesday, and has upper-crust cornerback Jamel Dean on track for free agency. While the rest of the NFC South is being connected to quarterbacks, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times tweets the Bucs should not be considered players for top-tier QB free agents. This would include Jimmy Garoppolo and almost definitely Derek Carr, and while Stroud adds the team will look at the market, the Bucs’ price range could be considered in the midlevel area.

Former second-rounder Kyle Trask, whom Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes Bucs players are high on as a player who can compete for the starting job (after two years in development), is the only quarterback left on the roster. The team holds the No. 19 overall pick. Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • The Saints have been the team most closely connected to Carr. They will need to complete their usual batch of winter restructures to be in position to pay him, though there are not as many avenues available to the crafty organization compared to recent years. But the Saints started their path to cap compliance Wednesday. They restructured Marcus Maye‘s deal, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. By moving $6.07MM of Maye’s salary into a signing bonus, the team created $4.85MM in cap space. Baby steps. The Saints are still more than $50MM over the cap.
  • Another Matt Rhule-era hire is no longer with the Panthers. The team parted ways with VP of player personnel Pat Stewart, Joe Person of The Athletic tweets. Stewart, who worked with Rhule at both Western Carolina and Temple, joined the Panthers in 2020.
  • New Panthers HC Frank Reich will bring in ex-Rams assistant Jonathan Cooley, Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic tweets. Cooley is set to join the Panthers as their defensive backs coach. He and new Carolina DC Ejiro Evero worked together in Los Angeles, with the Rams promoting Cooley after Evero left for Denver last year. The Rams, despite blocking Cooley from interviewing with the Vikings in 2022, fired him just after this past season ended.
  • Another Rams staffer fired along with Cooley in January will catch on in the NFC South. The Saints are hiring Kevin Carberry to be their assistant offensive line coach, Yates adds (on Twitter). Carberry served as the Rams’ offensive line coach during their Super Bowl LVI-winning 2021 season and last year. He will replace Zach Strief, who is now the Broncos’ O-line coach.
  • When Ryan Jensen went down during a July practice, he tore his MCL and PCL fully but only partially tore his ACL. This allowed for the veteran Buccaneers center to avoid surgery, Dan Pompei of Athletic notes (subscription required). Jensen also suffered meniscus damage, per Pompei, who adds retirement was a consideration for the injured blocker. Jensen took out a $5MM insurance policy in the event of a career-ending injury. A stem cell treatment in Antigua, however, made a difference in Jensen’s recovery. The 31-year-old blocker managed to make it back to practice late in the season and played in Tampa Bay’s wild-card loss to Dallas. Two years remain on Jensen’s three-year, $39MM contract.
  • Eddy Pineiro came to Charlotte as a Zane Gonzalez replacement, but the ex-Bears kicker fared well. Pineiro made 33 of 35 field goals, including a 15-for-16 mark from beyond 40 yards, and Person views him as the most likely Panthers kicker in 2023. Gonzalez suffered a preseason quad injury, leading to a full-season IR stay. The Rhule signee is under contract through 2023, while Pineiro is a free agent. But the latter has ties to special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, whom Person adds Reich is retaining. Tabor coached Pineiro in Chicago as well.

Panthers To Sign K Eddy Pineiro

Eddy Pineiro became a player to monitor early in the Panthers’ kicker search, having been with the Bears during new Carolina special teams coordinator Chris Tabor‘s tenure. The Panthers are indeed going in this direction.

Pineiro, 26, is signing with Carolina on a one-year deal, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. He will fill in for the injured Zane Gonzalez. While it was not certain at the time Gonzalez’s groin injury would cost him all of the 2022 season, the Panthers placed the veteran kicker on IR Tuesday. Gonzalez, who kicked for the Panthers for much of last season, is out of the picture for the team until 2023.

The Bears’ ST coordinator throughout Matt Nagy‘s four-year tenure, Tabor landed with the Panthers this offseason. His Pineiro past stems from the young specialist being tabbed as the franchise’s post-“double doink” option at the position — after a much-discussed kicker competition — in 2019. Pineiro kicked in all 16 Bears games that season, though he was not retained for the 2020 slate. Most recently, Pineiro wound up with the Jets, kicking in five games last season.

Greg Zuerlein beat out Pineiro for the Jets’ kicking job in training camp, but Gonzalez worked out for the Panthers — along with fellow ex-Jet Matt Ammendola, former Jaguar Matthew Wright and others — on Monday. During his one full season as an NFL kicker, Pineiro made 23 of 28 field goals — in one of the NFL’s least friendly kicking environments — and was 27-for-29 on extra points. Last season, the ex-Florida Gator was 8-for-8 on field goals and 9-for-10 on PATs.

Gonzalez signed a two-year, $4.5MM deal ($2MM guaranteed) to stay in Carolina this offseason. Although Pineiro will likely be attached to a league-minimum deal, the Panthers will soon be responsible for two kicker salaries. They entered Wednesday with the league’s third-most cap space, at just under $20MM, however.

Panthers Work Out Five Kickers

Zane Gonzalez was injured on the sideline during Friday’s preseason contest, and the Panthers are now eyeing some reinforcement at kicker. According to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com (on Twitter), the Panthers worked out kickers Taylor Bertolet, Brian Johnson, Chase McLaughlin, Eddy Pineiro, and Matthew Wright.

After seeing time in 15 games across two seasons with five different teams, McLaughlin got a chance to be the Browns’ full-time kicker in 2021. He converted 15 of his 21 field goal attempts and 36 of his 37 extra point attempts. With Cleveland selecting Cade York in the fourth round of the draft, McLaughlin was ultimately cut back in May.

Wright got into 14 games for the Jaguars last year, connecting on 21 of his 24 field goal attempts and 13 of his 15 XP tries. After converting 82.1 percent of his FG attempts in 16 games with the Bears in 2021, Pineiro saw time in five games with the Jets last year. He made all eight of his field goal attempts and nine of his 10 extra point attempts.

Johnson appeared in seven games between New Orleans and Washington last year, connecting on all 10 of his field goal attempts (but only nine of his 13 extra point tries). Bertolet, an undrafted free agent back in 2016, has spent time with five NFL teams but hasn’t seen time in a regular season game.

Gonzalez injury himself on Friday night while warming up on the sideline. It was later revealed that he suffered a significant groin injury, with Ellis Williams of the Charlotte Observer writing that it could be a season-ending injury.

Panthers K Zane Gonzalez To Miss Extended Stretch

2:15pm: The Panthers’ search will start with Brian Johnson, a Virginia Tech product who kicked in seven games with Washington and New Orleans last season, Person tweets. Johnson was 10-for-10 on field goal attempts but missed four extra points as a rookie.

1:21pm: After the news of Sam Darnold‘s injury, the Panthers have another veteran set to miss what looks like an extended time period. Zane Gonzalez suffered what Matt Rhule called a significant, long-term injury, David Newton of ESPN.com tweets. He suffered the setback during warmups.

Gonzalez, whom the Panthers re-signed this offseason, sustained a groin injury. As a result, the Panthers are looking for a replacement kicker. Gonzalez, 27, is the only one on Carolina’s roster. The Panthers can stash him on IR after roster cutdown day.

[RELATED: Darnold Expected To Miss 4-6 Weeks]

The former Browns and Cardinals specialist missed the final four games of last season due to a quadriceps injury. He re-signed with the Panthers on a two-year, $4.5MM deal in March. Gonzalez has not kicked in a full season since 2019, when he was with the Cardinals. He connected on a career-high 90.9% of his field goal tries in 2021 and was 22-for-23 on PATs with the Panthers last season.

Carolina has gone through some kicker turnover in recent years. The team moved on from Joey Slye after two seasons and ditched Slye’s replacement — 2021 trade acquisition Ryan Santoso — after one game. Lirim Hajrullahu also worked as the team’s primary Gonzalez replacement. Hajrullahu is available, after the Cowboys waived him last week.

Rhule said the team will look at free agent fill-in options while examining teams with two-kicker rosters presently. Kickers will be available on the waiver wire Tuesday, when rosters must be slashed from 80 to 53 players. New special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will help with the search, per The Athletic’s Joe Person, who notes recently cut Jets kicker Eddy Pineiro will be a name to monitor (Twitter link). Tabor coached Pineiro with the Bears.

Jets To Waive K Eddy Pineiro

The Jets have made their kicker decision. Offseason addition Greg Zuerlein looks to have won the job. The team is waiving Eddy Pineiro on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Pineiro kicked in five Jets games last season, making all eight of his field goal tries and going 9-for-10 on PATs. But the Jets scooped up Zuerlein after the Cowboys cut him this offseason. The veteran kicker is also attached to a slightly bigger contract — one year, $2MM ($1MM guaranteed). Though, Pineiro was set to make $1.75MM ($750K guaranteed) this year.

Barring another change at the position, Zuerlein will be on track to kick for a third team and begin an 11th season as a franchise’s primary kicker. The strong-legged specialist who earned All-Pro recognition in 2017 and made a 58-yard field goal to send the Rams to Super Bowl LIII a year later struggled in his second Cowboys season. Zuerlein, 34, missed a career-high six extra points in 2021. He made 82.9% of his field goal tries in each of his Cowboys campaigns.

Both players were not faring well during the Jets’ offseason program, and Zuerlein’s leash is certainly not as long as it was during his Rams tenure.

The Jets have not enjoyed kicking stability for a bit. They used three kickers during both the 2020 and ’21 seasons. Kaare Vedvik not working out in 2019 led to the team using two that year. Gang Green has featured a different kicker in each of the past six seasons. Jason Myers, a Pro Bowler as a Jet in 2018, was easily the best of the bunch. The team did not re-sign him in free agency the following offseason.

Kicking Struggles In New York With Pineiro And Zuerlein

The Jets finished last in the AFC East last season. While they did rank 28th in offensive yardage in the league and finished dead last in yards allowed, they got no help from their kicking game as the team converted only 77.78% of its field goal attempts and 85.19% of its extra points. According to Connor Hughes at The Athletic, things haven’t looked much better for Gang Green this offseason. 

Last season saw the NFL debut of Oklahoma State undrafted kicker Matt Ammendola as he began the year as New York’s primary kicker. While he didn’t get a chance to score in Week 1, since the Jets went for two-point conversions on each of their two touchdowns, he did contribute with six punts for 291 total yards after starting punter Braden Mann sprained his knee after his first punt of the season. Ammendola would go on to man the kicking position for the first 12 weeks of the season, missing 1 of 15 extra points and converting 13 of 19 field goals along the way. He was perfect from 39 yards and in, but only 2 for 5 in the 40-49 yard range and missed all three attempts over 50 yards. After a rough two-week stretch that saw him miss 3 of 6 field goals, Ammendola was waived and placed on the practice squad after going unclaimed.

The Jets then brought in former Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro, who was the primary kicker for the entire season for the Bears two years ago. Pineiro added some stability to the kicking game, converting all eight of his field goals attempts but did miss one extra point. He even converted the Jets first and only 50+ yard field goal of the season in order to give the Jets a three-point lead over the Buccaneers going into halftime.

New York entered the offseason with Ammendola and Pineiro, but decided late into March that they wanted to bring in a veteran presence in Greg Zuerlein. Greg the Leg spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Rams, joining the Cowboys two years ago as Dallas’s primary kicker. Mr. the Leg has seen varying success throughout his career spanning from a 2015 season in which he missed a third of his kicks to a 2017 All-Pro season that saw his miss only 2 of an attempted 40. He is known as a kicker of great distance. Despite only converting 55.07% of his field goal attempts over 50 yards, his longest converted field goal of the season has routinely been above 54 yards, with two seasons entering into the 60+ yard range.

Three days after bringing in Zuerlein, New York waived Ammendola, leaving the kicking competition to be settled by Zuerlein or Pineiro. The Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer has described the race between the two as “tight,” claiming Pineiro and Zuerlein are “neck and neck.” Unfortunately, the competition is so close because neither kicker has made a strong case to be awarded the position over the other.

Boyer will have to make a decision at some point, but he’s likely hoping Pineiro or Zuerlein will make the decision for him by stepping up to take the role. Hughes posits that, like many past seasons for Gang Green, New York’s Week 1 kicker might not even be on the roster yet.