Panthers cut K Ryan Santoso, sign Zane Gonzalez

By Anthony Rizzuti

The Carolina Panthers liked kicker Ryan Santoso. But, apparently, they like that seventh-round pick a little more.

As first reported by Joseph Person of The Athletic, the Panthers have cut Santoso after just one regular season outing. His release now returns the conditional seventh-round selection from the New York Giants back to the Panthers since Santoso did not stick on the active roster for two games.

Santoso’s clock starting ticking early in Week 1, when head coach Matt Rhule denied him a chance at a 52-yard field goal in the first quarter of the opener against the New York Jets. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder, in what was his second strike of the afternoon, then missed an extra point try following a 57-yard touchdown reception by wideout Robby Anderson.

Rhule noted on Monday that the team was still holding a competition for the kicker’s spot going into the week, with challenger Dominik Eberle hanging around on the practice squad. Eberle may not be Carolina’s guy going into the Week 2 showdown with the New Orleans Saints, but it definitely won’t be Santoso.

Their guy, instead, may be Zane Gonzalez, whose signing was subsequently announced by the team following the Santoso departure. Gonzalez, plucked off the Detroit Lions practice squad, had spent time with Carolina as a tryout player during the summer.

Over his four seasons, the 26-year-old has converted on 71 of his 91 field goal attempts (78 percent) and 105 of his 111 extra points (94.6 percent).


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