Carolina Panthers trade kicker Zane Gonzalez to 49ers for conditional draft pick

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.