Zane Gonzalez

Panthers Cut K Ryan Santoso, Sign K Zane Gonzalez

The Panthers have made their decision. Carolina is cutting kicker Ryan Santoso after just one game, a source told Joe Person of The Athletic (Twitter link). The team then announced they would be signing kicker Zane Gonzalez off the Lions’ practice squad to replace him.

It was a move that was time sensitive because of the Panthers’ trade for Santoso a few weeks ago. Carolina agreed to acquire Santoso from the Giants, and the deal stipulated that they’d send a seventh-round pick to New York if Santoso was on the active roster for two games. Essentially, they had a one week free trial on the kicker, and decided he wasn’t worth the late-round pick.

Santoso made both of his field goal attempts in the team’s Week 1 win over the Jets, but he did miss one of his two extra point attempts. The Panthers cut Joey Slye at final cuts, and they also have Dominik Eberle on the practice squad. Gonzalez was the Browns’ kicker in all 16 games in 2017, and he spent most of the past two seasons as the Cardinals’ full-time kicker. Because he was signed off another team’s practice squad, Carolina will need to keep him on the active roster for at least three weeks.

The Giants will now get nothing in return for the man they had behind Graham Gano during the preseason. Teams apparently thought highly enough of Santoso, who has spent some time in the CFL, to warrant a trade for him, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets another shot with somebody soon.

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Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BearsLionsPackers and Vikings moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Chicago Bears

Claimed:

Signed:

Waived:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Detroit Lions

Released/Waived:

Signed to practice squad:

Green Bay Packers

Signed to practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings

Signed:

Claimed:

Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Lions Down To 53

The Lions have their 53-man roster in place. On Tuesday, the Lions officially cut:

Released

Waived

Placed on Reserve/Suspended

The Lions will carry three quarterbacks for now in Jard Goff, Tim Boyle, and David Blough. Boyle is currently dealing with an injured thumb, which will keep him sidelined for two months. But, in order to hang on to him and dress him ASAP, they’ll have to carry him on their initial 53-man roster. Fortunately, Goff has proven largely durable during his five-year career. He did not miss a start due to injury until late last season, when a thumb surgery sidelined him.

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Lions Sign K Zane Gonzalez

After losing longtime kicker Matt Prater to the Cardinals in free agency, the Lions have added Arizona’s previous kicker. Zane Gonzalez agreed to a one-year deal with the Lions on Tuesday, according to his agency (Twitter link).

Detroit used Prater as its kicker from 2014-20, but he left for Arizona in March. The Lions signed former Bengals specialist Randy Bullock, but they have now added some veteran competition.

Gonzalez, 26, kicked for the Cardinals from 2018-20, catching on in the desert after the Browns cut him early in the 2018 season. The former seventh-round Browns pick fared well in 2019, making more than 86% of his field goal tries. Last season, Gonzalez was less effective (73%) and played a role in the Cards’ late-season swoon. He missed a 45-yard field goal in a three-point loss to the Patriots and saw another game-tying try — a 49-yarder — fall short of the uprights in a three-point loss to the Dolphins.

Bullock, 31, is a nine-year veteran who spent the past four years as the Bengals’ kicker. To make room for Gonzalez on their roster, the Lions are waiving kicker Matthew Wright, per NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter).

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Minor NFL Transactions: 3/5/21

We’ll keep track of the latest minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Los Angeles Chargers

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Cardinals Move Gonzalez, Phillips To IR

Mike Nugent looks set to continue as Arizona’s kicker for the foreseeable future. The Cardinals placed Zane Gonzalez on IR on Saturday and promoted Nugent from their practice squad.

The Cardinals gave Nugent a chance to kick in a 16th NFL season last week, calling on him to replace an injured Gonzalez. With Saturday’s transaction sidelining Gonzalez for the rest of the regular season, the 38-year-old Nugent will receive more opportunities to help the Cards into the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Gonzalez has struggled this season, having seen a game-tying field goal from inside 50 yards fall short against the Dolphins and having missed five other field goals (16-for-22) in his third Cardinals campaign. The former Browns kicker, down because of a back injury, will be eligible to return for Arizona’s playoff game — should the Cards qualify. Nugent made 4 of 4 field goals in the Cards’ win over the Giants last week.

Joining Gonzalez on IR for the next three weeks: Jordan Phillips. The pricey free agent acquisition will head to IR for the second time this season. Because this is Phillips’ second time on IR, his season is over.

Phillips has dealt with a balky hamstring this season. He returned from IR last week to play against the Giants, but a setback will sideline a key Cards defender for the team’s most critical stretch of games in years. The Cardinals now have D-linemen Phillips, Corey Peters and Josh Mauro on IR.

Arizona also activated tight end Darrell Daniels off IR and promoted running back D.J. Foster and linebacker Terrance Smith.

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Cardinals Activate DL Jordan Phillips, Promote K Mike Nugent

The Cardinals announced a list of transactions this afternoon, including the activation of defensive lineman Jordan Phillips from injured reserve. The team also activated cornerback Kevin Peterson from IR, placed cornerback Johnathan Joseph on IR, released defensive lineman Trevon Coley, and promoted tight end Seth DeValve and kicker Mike Nugent from the practice squad.

Following a 9.5-sack campaign with the Bills in 2019, Phillips got a three-year deal from Arizona this offseason. While he started eight games for the Cardinals, his production took a dip, as he had only 10 tackles and a pair of sacks through the first two-plus months of the season. With his playing time already diminished, Phillips landed on injured reserve back in November with a hamstring injury.

Joseph, 36, was released by the Titans back in November. He quickly caught on with the Cardinals, and he’s collected three tackles and one pass defended through four games. The veteran hadn’t appeared in more than 20 percent of his team’s defensive snaps in any of his four games, and he was added to the injury report this week with a neck ailment. Peterson, 26, will be taking Joseph’s spot on the roster, with the Oklahoma State product having appeared in 22 games for the Cardinals over the past two seasons.

With starting kicker Zane Gonzalez ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Giants with a back injury, Arizona is turning to Nugent. The 38-year-old joined the Cardinals practice squad back in September, and with Gonzalez connecting on only 72.7 percent of his field goals this season, Nugent could be auditioning for the full-time gig. Nugent got into four games with the Patriots last season, connecting on five of his eight field goal attempts and 15 of his 16 extra point tries.

DeValve, a 2016 fourth-round pick, joined the Cardinals practice squad last month and was promoted to the active roster last week. In 54 career games (16 starts), DeValve’s hauled in 60 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdowns. Coley, 26, started 29 games for the Browns between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He’s appeared in 13 games since that time, compiling 20 tackles and one sack.

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NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Whitworth, Garoppolo

Cardinals NT Corey Peters is out for the season due to a torn patellar tendon, and as he is in the final year of his contract with Arizona, it’s possible he has already played his last game with the team. But if he has it his way, that won’t be the case.

The 32-year-old said that he would love to spend the rest of his career with the Cardinals, as Mason Kern of SI.com writes, and assuming the price is right, it would make sense for GM Steve Keim to keep him. Peters was named Arizona’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award yesterday, and he has been a team captain for three years running. In addition to his stout defense against the run, he is a highly-respected spiritual and emotional leader, so look for the two sides to discuss a reunion this offseason.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald says he feels much better after testing positive for COVID-19 late last month, though he has yet to regain his senses of taste and smell (Twitter link via Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN.com). Fitz also says he lost nine pounds during his bout with the coronavirus, but he did come off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, and as Darren Urban of the team’s official website tweets, the 37-year-old will suit up against the Giants this weekend.
  • After sinking 88.6% of his field goal tries in 2019, Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has converted just 72.7% of his attempts this year, prompting some to wonder if the team will seek another option. But Keim will keep rolling with Gonzalez, saying, “I know people question Zane but Zane has a lot of talent. … I think Zane will work through the tough times” (Twitter link via Urban). Gonzalez is playing out the season on his RFA tender, and this is not how he wanted to enter his first offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Rams suddenly find themselves atop the NFC West, and they could be getting their left tackle back soon. Andrew Whitworth has been on the shelf since the middle of November with a torn MCL and PCL, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the veteran OT, who turns 39 tomorrow, will test out the knee next week. Whitworth is apparently way ahead of schedule and could return by the end of the regular season.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo‘s future with the 49ers is in some doubt, even though HC Kyle Shanahan recently said he expects the dashing signal-caller to be the team’s starter in 2021. That may well be the case, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes San Francisco will select a QB in next year’s draft, perhaps as high as the second round. There could be a few intriguing prospects available at that point that Shanahan may be able to turn into a viable starter at the professional level. Players like Florida’s Kyle Trask or Alabama’s Mac Jones could both be options.
  • It has now been over a year since Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny last suited up for a game, but as John Boyle of the team’s official website notes, Penny returned to practice this week. Head coach Pete Carroll says he’s excited about what he has seen from Penny in practice (Twitter link via 710 ESPN Seattle), and the ‘Hawks could certainly use a boost to an RB corps that has dealt with a number of injuries this season. Per Boyle, CB Quinton Dunbar, who has been on IR for a few weeks with a knee injury, has also returned to practice.
  • The Seahawks signed QB Alex McGough to their practice squad yesterday, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the team has put its other PS signal-caller, Danny Etling, in a bubble. The Broncos, of course, recently had to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at QB because the rest of their quarterbacks were deemed high-risk close contacts of Jeff Driskel, who had tested positive. The Seahawks are keeping Etling in a bubble to guard against just such a situation.

Cardinals Add K Mike Nugent To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez might be hearing footsteps. Or, perhaps, he just has some backup. On Friday, the Cardinals signed veteran kicker Mike Nugent to the practice squad, per a club announcement.

Nugent first made his Cardinals debut over a decade ago in 2009, appearing in a pair of games. Now 38, he owns a career 81% field goal completion rate across 168 games. Last year, he had a cup of coffee with the Patriots as a part of their revolving door of kickers. The veteran converted five of eight FGs with the Pats, who released him after a pair of missed field goals against the Browns. The Patriots won that October contest to advance to 8-0, but Bill Belichick wasn’t taking any chances.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, missed two of his three field goal tries in the season opener. Still, the one he converted on was from 56 yards out, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury says he’s “very comfortable” with the 25-year-old.

After topping the Niners in Week 1, the Cardinals will look to go 2-0 this Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

Cardinals’ Zane Gonzalez Signs RFA Tender

Zane Gonzalez is back in the fold for the Cardinals. The fourth-year kicker signed his second-round tender Thursday.

The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets passed last week, effectively tying Gonzalez to the Cardinals. He is set to earn $3.26MM on the tender, which marks a significant raise from his $645K 2019 salary.

After Gonzalez’s rough September 2018 day in New Orleans led to the Browns cutting him, he stabilized his career with the Cards. Becoming their kicker during the 2018 season, Gonzalez kicked in all 16 games for Kliff Kingsbury‘s team last season. He bounced back from an abbreviated 2018 campaign, making 31 of 35 field goals and 34 of 35 PATs.

Barring an extension, the Arizona State alum will be eligible for unrestricted free agency after the 2018 season.

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