Projecting who will win the Carolina Panthers kicking battle

(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Matt Ammendola
(Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images) Matt Ammendola /
4 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Joey Slye /

Who will the Carolina Panthers go with at kicker in 2021?

With the cases now made for both options at kicker for the Carolina Panthers in 2021, who will come out on top of what should be a close competition?

Even with Joey Slye’s issues with accuracy and the fact that another body has been brought in multiple times, somehow the second-year pro continues to come out on top with coaches. The confidence in his ability was further evident by Carolina’s decision to let him attempted those record-setting kicks last season.

Matt Ammendola is a young up and comer with high potential and shows enough that the Panthers signed him in the first place.

Sound familiar?

The undrafted kicker also shows more promise, statistics-wise, than Slye out of college.

This competition comes down to whether the Panthers want to take a flier based on potential in Ammendola or stick with a known middle-of-the-road quantity in Slye. History leans toward one side more than the other as most teams try to limit risk instead of taking more on.

In the end, Slye’s recent struggles can be explained away by multiple excuses, be that a new coaching staff or just a down year. We also saw what a good dose of competition did for Gano in years past and how it resurrected what was a dying career at the time.

So while I see this being hard-fought and a tough decision come Week 1, Slye will be Carolina’s starter.

That cannon for a leg can cover a multitude of sins and with the improvement Slye quietly made in 2020, it should be enough to secure the job. But look for the team to keep Ammendola around on the practice squad.

If that accuracy dips and the long-range woes continue during camp or into the start of the season, look for the Panthers to make a change sooner rather than later. Slye’s seat may just be the hottest on the team and he will have to perform well to start cooling it off.