CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Charlotte Observer) - The Carolina Panthers have released veteran kicker Graham Gano after eight seasons with the team, according to two sources familiar with situation who spoke on a condition of anonymity because the team has not yet announced the move.
After missing the last four games in 2018 with a left leg injury, Gano, 33, began to experience soreness in the leg in training camp last season, and was place on the injured reserve in August 2019. He missed the rest of the season.
Gano had two years left on a four-year, $17 million contract he signed in 2018. He was scheduled to make $2.8 million this season.
The Panthers will save the $2.8 million against the cap this season, but will add to their dead cap total, which is now at $42.7 million.
“Looking back on our years with the Panthers only puts a smile on my face,” Brittany Gano, his wife, posted on Instagram.
Panthers’ coach Matt Rhule had said Wednesday that Gano looked healthy when he returned to camp. He was among the injured players who returned on July 23 when injured players and quarterbacks reported to camp.
“Graham (Gano) looks healthy, looks great, I obviously haven’t seen him kick, but I know that people are really pleased, the medical staff is pleased with how far he’s come,” Rhule said.
The Panthers will likely lean on Joey Slye, who hit 25 of 32 field goal attempts in 2019 as an undrafted rookie.
Gano had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017. He made the Pro Bowl after hitting 29 of 30 field goals for a 96.7% field goal conversion rate. The 11-year veteran started his career for Washington’s Football Team. He spent three years there before signing a contract with the Panthers in 2012.
Gano’s defining highlight included a 63-yard game-winning kick in October 2018 against the New York Giants. It remains a franchise record.
Gano’s wife Brittany posted a message on Instagram thanking the organization and the fansm while showing love to her husband: