The Panthers are beginning to move their roster toward the 53-man limit. Shortly after the trade for Ryan Santoso, the team cut its incumbent kicker — Joey Slye — and six other players.
In addition to Carolina waiving Slye, the team cut safety Doug Middleton, tackle Martez Ivey, wide receiver Ishmael Hyman, linebacker Paddy Fisher and linebacker Jonathan Celestin. The Panthers waived running back Darius Clark with an injury designation. Of this crop, only Middleton is a vested veteran who can avoid the waiver wire.
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As evidenced by Matt Rhule trying 65- and 67-yard yard field goals against the Saints and Chiefs last season, Slye has one of the strongest legs in the NFL. His placement on the wire may affect another team’s kicking situation. The wire is currently determined by 2020 record, so the Jaguars and Jets will have the first crack at the young kicker.
Slye, 25, kicked for the Panthers for the past two seasons. He replaced Graham Gano in Carolina. Gano is now with the Giants, who ended up delivering the Panthers Slye’s replacement in Santoso. Slye did miss seven field goals last season, though two of them came from beyond 65 yards. The Virginia Tech product also missed seven tries (25-for-32) in 2019, when he took over for an injured Gano.
A five-year veteran, Middleton played in 10 games with the Jaguars last season as a backup. The Panthers’ roster currently sits at 71 players.