Today’s minor moves consistent exclusively of players getting released/waived from injured reserve. If players are placed on IR during the preseason, they’re not allowed to be activated by their team during the regular season. However, getting released from IR allows them to sign elsewhere and play immediately.
The most notable name on the list is kicker Zane Gonzalez, who has seen time in 63 career games. He most recently got into 12 games for the Panthers during the 2021 campaign, connecting on 20 of his 22 field goal attempts and 22 of his 23 extra point tries. The veteran will likely need an injury to hit before he gets another gig.
The 49ers joined the Chiefs in placing their best defensive player on the reserve/did not report list due to a holdout and joined the other 30 teams in finalizing their 53-man roster. Some changes are expected, with veterans pledged to stay. But here is how the 49ers reached 53:
The 49ers are planning to re-sign Hyder and Bryant once they make other roster moves, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Both are vested veterans who are not subject to waivers. With Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu gone, Hyder figures to be a key piece as a rotational defensive end. He is with the 49ers for the third time in four seasons. After an 8.5-sack slate in 2020, Hyder signed with the Seahawks. But Seattle released him in 2021, leading the veteran back to the Bay Area.
San Francisco’s 53-man roster will include Bosa soon, and this holdout does not appear as contentious as the Chris Jones-Chiefs standoff. John Lynch has indicated the 49ers will waive Bosa’s fines for missing training camp — an option the 49ers have due to Bosa being tied to a rookie contract. While the 49ers changed defensive coordinators, bringing in Steve Wilks to replace DeMeco Ryans, D-line coach Kris Kocurek remains in place. Bosa should be able to hit the ground running once he returns, though the 49ers are running short on time here.
The 49ers do not know who their placekicker will be when they open the regular season against the Steelers on September 10, as ESPN’s Nick Wagoner details. The club did not make an effort to re-sign longtime kicker Robbie Gould this offseason but did acquire veteran Zane Gonzalez via trade and selected Jake Moody in the third round of the 2023 draft (thereby making Moody just the second kicker in the past 15 years to be taken within the draft’s top 100 picks).
Unfortunately, Gonzalez and Moody have both sustained injuries that threaten their Week 1 availability. Given the draft capital the team invested into him, Moody has been viewed as the presumptive starter, and he has performed well in practice, converting most of his field goal attempts (including multiple attempts from over 60 yards). He has struggled in preseason action, however, missing two FG attempts against the Raiders — though one was a 58-yard try — and an extra point against the Broncos.
Wagoner writes that Moody left Wednesday’s practice early, and the Michigan product is considered week-to-week with a right quadriceps injury. In light of Moody’s ailment, it appeared as if Gonzalez would have a chance to make a case for himself in San Francisco’s preseason finale against the Chargers on Friday, but he suffered a strained calf that kept him out of the game. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that Gonzalez’s injury will cost him multiple weeks, and given that he was facing an uphill battle to make the club anyway, it seems he is not long for the 49ers’ roster.
The Niners obviously need to make at least a short-term addition, and Shanahan said the team will work out multiple kickers this week. Gould, 40, recently said that he has spoken with several teams and is remaining patient as he looks for the right fit. It is unclear whether he would entertain a reunion with San Francisco given the presence of Moody, though Shanahan would not rule it out.
“We’re discussing everything and just being ready for any possibility to maneuver this roster however, but we really don’t know what direction we’re gonna go until time takes care of that,” Shanahan said.
Robbie Gould‘s stint with the 49ers came to an unceremonious end this offseason, but the veteran kicker is still open to work. The 40-year-old free agent told Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area that he’s talked with several teams and is remaining patient as he awaits his next gig.
“I know training camp is coming up and I’m ready for the next opportunity,” Gould said. “And I’m sure these teams will give these young kids a chance and find out who has a chance to compete. I think things will get a lot more serious. But, yeah, I’m ready to go and looking forward to the next season.”
Despite being one of the oldest active players in the NFL last season, Gould still showed that he’s got plenty left in the tank. He got into all 17 games for the 49ers, connecting on 84.4 percent of his field goal attempts and 50 of his 51 extra point tries. He was also perfect in the playoffs, connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts and all five of his XP tries.
While Gould was a productive option for the 49ers in 2022, the kicker announced after the season that his tenure with the organization had ended and he’d be seeking a new landing spot this offseason. According to the veteran, the change wasn’t his decision.
“I would’ve loved to have gone back there,” Gould said. “I told them I wanted to go back there. We never got an offer from the team and we never had a conversation about coming back.”
The 49ers made it clear that they were pivoting towards the future during the draft. The organization first selected Michigan’s Jake Moody in the third round, making him only the second kicker (along with Roberto Aguayo) in the past 15 years to be selected in the top-100. The organization also pulled off an offseason trade for Zane Gonzalez, setting up a competition at the position.
As a result, there would have been little room for Gould in San Francisco’s kickers room. Ultimately, the former Pro Bowler’s stint with the 49ers lasted six seasons, and he’ll leave the franchise ranked fourth in all-time scoring (704 points).
Considering Gould’s apparent desire to continue his playing career, it shouldn’t take all that long for him to find a new job. With 266 career regular season games under his belt, a front office will surely come knocking if their younger options show some cracks during training camp or the preseason.
After allowing kicker Robbie Gouldto walk in free agency, the 49ers have figured out Plan No. 1 for the position for next season. According to Panthers staff writer Darin Gantt, Carolina has traded kickerZane Gonzalez to San Francisco in exchange for a conditional late-round 2025 draft pick. Some reports describe the deal as a conditional swap of late-round picks.
Gonzalez has not kicked in the NFL since 2021. A former seventh-round pick for the Browns in 2017 out of Arizona State, Gonzalez spent just over a year in Cleveland, getting waived after 18 games with a 68% field goal conversation rate and having missed three of 31 extra point attempts. He would rebound with the Cardinals, with whom he’d spend the next three years of his career.
In Arizona, Gonzalez was signed to the practice squad and elevated to fill in for an injured Phil Dawson. Gonzalez’s performance in substitute duty was rewarded with a new contract to stay with the team. He remained the Cardinals’ kicker in 2019 and going into 2020. Late into the 2020 season, though, Gonzalez found the injury bug, was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season, and was released at the end of the league year.
Gonzalez spent three weeks in Detroit during the 2021 preseason before getting waived and signed to the practice squad. After letting go of Ryan Santoso, who kicked for Carolina in Week 1, the Panthers signed Gonzalez off the Lions’ practice squad. Gonzalez would kick for the Panthers until suffering a quad injury during warmups in a Week 15 game in Buffalo. The team was forced to play without a kicker for the game and depended on Lirim Hajrullahu for the remainder of the year.
Gonzalez was ready to retake his spot as the team’s placekicker when his injury woes continued. In the team’s final game of the 2022 preseason, Gonzalez once again injured his quad in warmups, forcing him to miss the entire season. The next day, Carolina signed kicker Eddy Pineiro to fill in for the season. Pineiro went 33-for-35 in field goal attempts and 30 for 32 in extra points and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension to remain the Panthers’ kicker, effectively marking the end of Gonzalez’s tenure in Carolina.
Instead of just releasing Gonzalez, the Panthers have been able to get some value for the superfluous special teamer in the form of San Francisco’s late draft pick. The 49ers were in need of a solution at placekicker after Gould’s departure. The longtime Bears kicker had just concluded his sixth year as a 49er. Gould had excited early in the Bay Area, converting 72 of 75 field goal attempts in his first two seasons with the team. He missed eight field goals the following year and struggled to repeat his early success with the 49ers.
Enter Gonzalez. The 27-year-old is coming off his strongest season, making 20 of 22 field goals in 2021, but is also coming off of a severe injury that held him out of the entire 2022 season. If Gonzalez can shake off the injury bug, he has promise to become the next franchise kicker in San Francisco.
Eddy Pineirowill 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 Gonzlezhas 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.
February 15th, 2023 at 10:26am CST by Sam Robinson
Tom Brady‘s retirement shoved the Buccaneers‘ void-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.
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 Jensenwent 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.
The most notable move was kicker Zane Gonzalez landing on injured reserve, making him ineligible to return for the 2022 campaign. Gonzalez injury himself on Friday night while warming up on the sideline. It was later revealed that he suffered a significant groin injury, and that injury ended up being season-ending. The Panthers worked out five potential replacements yesterday.
Juston Burris started 20 of his 23 games for the Panthers over the past two seasons. After collecting a career-high 53 tackles in 2020, the safety finished with only 23 tackles this past year, with Pro Football Focus ranking him 77th among 92 qualifying safeties. He was on the roster bubble following the offseason pickup of Xavier Woods. Brandon Zylstra has seen time in 37 games for the Panthers over the past three years, hauling in 29 receptions for 391 yards and one touchdown. Yesterday’s trade for Laviska Shenault Jr. only pushed him further down the depth chart, leading to his release.
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.
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.
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.