The Carolina Panthers connection is strong with the New York Giants. GM Dave Gettleman. Personnel consultant Mark Koncz. Special teams coach Thomas McGaughey. The expectation that the Giants will be a serious free agent bidder for Panthers’ All-Pro guard Andrew Norwell.
Well, add another Panther to the list. NJ Advance Media is reporting that the Giants are expected to pursue Carolina placekicker Graham Gano when free agency begins on March 12 with the legal tampering window. Signings cannot occur until March 14.
Pursuing a veteran placekicker absolutely makes sense for the Giants. The fact that Gano would draw the Giants’ attention also makes sense with Gettleman, Koncz and McGaughey having watched him up close for several seasons.
Aldrick Rosas was a great story for the Giants last season, a former NAIA kicker who won the job after signing a reserve/futures contract. Rosas, though, struggled. He made only 18-of-25 field goals. His 72 percent accuracy ranked 37th among 41 qualifying kickers. Rosas’s 87 percent accuracy on extra points (20-of-23) was 38th among 44 qualifying kickers. Only 26 of Rosas’ 62 kickoffs (41.9 percent) went for touchbacks.
The 2017 season was easily the best of the 30-year-old Gano’s career. He was the NFL’s most accurate kicker, making 29-of-30 fields (96.7 percent). His only miss of the season came from beyond 50 yards. Gano did miss three of 35 extra points, making 91.9 percent of those. Gano averaged nearly four full yards more than Rosas on kickoffs, and 70 of his 83 kickoffs (84.3 percent) went for touchbacks.
Gano has been with the Panthers the last six seasons after spending the first three years of his career kicking fro the Washington Redskins.
Carolina is expected to try and keep Gano. Here is GM Marty Hurney on the placekicker:
“I mean, Graham missed one kick for us last year. He had a phenomenal year. He’s definitely a guy that we want to get re-signed and is a priority, but as I said, this time of year it’s hard to predict anything. It’s just a fluid process day-to-day.”
Gano just completed a four-year, $12.4 million deal with the Panthers.
There are currently four kickers (Stephen Gostkowski, $4.3 million), Justin Tucker ($4.2 million), Mason Crosby ($4.025 million) and Ryan Succop ($4 million) making at least $4 million annually. Succop, a nine-year veteran with a career comparable to Gano’s, recently signed a five-year, $20 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.
Would the Giants get into a bidding war for a kicker? Should they?
Here is a little bonus music because, well, because I can. And because all this talk about Carolina makes this an obvious choice.