Preseason trade for Ryan Santoso might solve Panthers’ kicking woes

(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Ryan Santoso
(Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) Ryan Santoso /

The Carolina Panthers should trade for Giants kicker Ryan Santoso to compete with Joey Slye and potentially solve their kicking dilemma.

If the first two preseason games for the Carolina Panthers have shown anything, it’s that they need to bring in competition for kicker Joey Slye, who has struggled in back-to-back games.

Head coach Matt Rhule outwardly told the media following Saturday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens that Slye, Carolina’s third-year kicker, hasn’t performed up to the level they want and he needs to get over the hump one way or another.

It’s never good for a coach to publically call you out and we all know how short of a lifeline kickers have in the NFL.

That had the talk of bringing in another kicker for the rest of the preseason to compete with Slye escalate and just hours later. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that New York Giants kicker Ryan Santoso has gained “significant trade interest” around the league.

Undrafted out of Minnesota in 2018, Santoso signed with the Detroit Lions before being waived during the final roster cuts. He then played in the CFL and for the Tennesse Titans before his stint in New York.

He signed with the Giants practice squad last offseason, before being promoted to the active roster while starting kicker Graham Gano, a former Panther, was on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Santoso signed a reserve/futures deal with New York in January and has impressed during training camp. But Gano just signed a three-year extension with the Giants, leaving Santoso expendable despite Joe Judge giving the player a huge confidence boost recently.

"“If we didn’t have Graham (Gano) this guy would be our kicker … we have all the faith in the world in him.”"

At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Santoso has reportedly been kicking field goals 55-yards and longer during practices for New York and has plenty of power and accuracy.

Giants head coach Joe Judge told New York reporters that Santoso deserves to be one of the 32 kickers in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers might not be willing to give up a draft pick for Ryan Santoso.

That makes Carolina the perfect place for Santoso with Slye really looking unreliable.

The only question is whether the Panthers are willing to sacrifice a late draft pick for Santoso’s services and if it’s worth giving anything up for a guy who might not be on the 53-man roster?

But they should.

Carolina could sign a free agent kicker, but Santoso’s upside sounds like it might be too appealing to pass on.

Santoso hasn’t attempted a field goal in the team’s two preseason games. However, he is perfect on two extra points and his leg has looked very strong on kickoffs.

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It might be another week or two before the Giants are even willing to trade Santoso. But the Panthers should be the first ones on the phone when they do begin taking trade offers.