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Another Panthers player is headed to the Bay Area.
The Panthers traded kicker Zane Gonzalez to the San Francisco 49ers on Friday for a conditional swap of 2025 late-round picks. Carolina initially notified Gonzalez of his intended release after the transaction wire closed on Thursday, which gave general manager Scott Fitterer time to strike a deal with the same team he traded running back Christian McCaffrey to in October.
Gonzalez became expendable after the team re-signed Eddy Piñeiro to a two-year deal on Thursday. The 49ers needed a kicker after cutting 18-year veteran Robbie Gould.
Piñeiro signed with the franchise this past August as an injury replacement for Gonzalez. He started strong before missing a pair of critical attempts against the Atlanta Falcons in a Week 8 overtime loss. But he bounced back, making 19 consecutive field-goal attempts — including a season-finale winner against the New Orleans Saints. He finished with a 94.3% make rate on his field-goal attempts, the league’s top mark for kickers with 30 or more field-goal attempts.
The Panthers will save $1.45 million on the salary cap by trading Gonzalez, who hit 20-of-22 field goal attempts and 22-of-23 extra points in 2021.
Gonzalez will join McCaffrey and free agent acquisition Sam Darnold in San Francisco.