Carolina Panthers made changes at kicker
When the Carolina Panthers lost Zane Gonzalez shortly before Week 1 of the 2022 season, it was a body blow. Especially considering the player finally provided the kicking position with a level of stability that was sorely lacking previously.
Fortunately for the Panthers, Chris Tabor knew what Eddy Pineiro could do with some early momentum. The pair worked closely together on the Chicago Bears and it didn't for this to bear fruit in a different environment.
Pineiro was reliable and made some crunch kicks throughout the campaign. Many will point to his disastrous outing at the Atlanta Falcons in Week 8, but aside from that his production was highly encouraging.
This put the Panthers in a predicament this offseason. However, when Tabor agreed to stay on as special teams coordinator under the new coaching regime, it seemed almost inevitable that Pineiro would return at the expense of Gonzalez.
It's a cruel business, especially for a kicker. But it might work out well for Gonzalez after the San Francisco 49ers came in with a trade offer before his release to guarantee they'd get him on board next season.
If Pineiro cannot reach the same level and Gonzalez shines, then this will be seen as a grave error in judgment.