4 Carolina Panthers with uncertain futures at 2024 training camp

The wave of uncertainty hangs over these Carolina Panthers players.
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Eddy Piñeiro - Carolina Panthers K

On the surface, the conversation about a placekicker’s future being uncertain wouldn’t typically move the needle much. I’m not entirely sold that this one does, but perhaps for different reasons than the expected “nobody cares about kickers” rhetoric.

This one doesn’t move the needle because it isn’t that controversial.

Eddy Piñeiro is the third most accurate field goal kicker of all time, registering a career 89 percent mark. And guess what? He knows that, too.

He brought it up during his first media availability after missing all of the Carolina Panthers' voluntary offseason program despite having a subpar season and being in the final year of his contract. This could be an indicator that Piñeiro is maneuvering for a new contract, already having the arguing points to bring to the table. But it's superficial.

The former Florida Gator has made 89 out of 100 field goals over his four-year NFL career. That’s good for 157th most in league history. For active kickers, that lands him at the 28th most. For comparison, the other two names above him in the all-time percentage list are Justin Tucker and Harrison Butker.

Tucker has made 395/438 in 12 seasons. Butker - a former Panthers late-round draft pick - has connected on 197/221 attempts over seven years.

Piñeiro’s 89 percent career mark is carried by his 2022 season when he went 33/35 for 94.3%. And his 2021 cup of coffee with the New York Jets was a cushy boost, going 8/8. But the other two seasons for Steady Eddy could be a bit more of a realistic look at the kicker.

Throughout his rookie season with the Chicago Bears, he made 23/28 (82%). Piñeiro went 25/29 (86%) with the Panthers last season.

For whatever it's worth, he ranks sixth all-time as far as Panthers' field-goal percentage goes, behind the likes of Chandler Catanzaro, Ryan Santoso, Joe Nedney, and Zane Gonzalez. Oh, and of course punter-extraordinaire Todd Sauerbrun. See - context matters.

The steadiest aspect of his game? Missing extra points. Piñeiro's career mark is 91 percent. Those two guys he’s compared to? Tucker has made 98.7% and Butker fires at a 94.5% rate. For a kicker that has a limitation in range, missing the extra points is a fair dealbreaker.

I prefer not to have a kicker that the offense must help. It should be exactly the opposite.

The kicker should bail the offense out of stalled drives with long field goals and should be essentially automatic with extra points. The first point there is the other issue with the current boot.

If I say ‘the shrug’ from last season, you all know what I’m talking about right?

The shrug that Piñeiro gave as he came up short on a 59-yard field goal attempt at the end of the game against the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. He knew it was a bad idea because he knew his limitations. That wasn’t on him - it’s on the coaches. But that limitation doesn’t fail to exist when you switch coaches.

Undrafted free agent kicker Harrison Mevis has a big leg. He’s entirely untested and will have to prove himself worthy when the lights are brightest, but he had promising showings in the voluntary program. The program that Dave Canales seemed quite appreciative of those who partook.