The 49ers finally have a kicker. San Francisco is sending a conditional late-round pick to the Panthers in the 2025 draft to acquire kicker Zane Gonzalez per NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero. Pelissero Gonzalez’s agent Mike McCartney originally announced the trade.
Gonzalez, 27, was a seventh-round pick of the Browns in the 2017 draft. He spent parts of two seasons in Cleveland before joining the Cardinals during the 2018 campaign. He was in Arizona until 2021 when he landed with the Panthers.
Gonzalez injured his groin during warm ups before a preseason game last year and wound up missing the entire season. Now he’s healthy and on track to be ready for the start of this year.
This effectively ends any chance of a reunion with Robbie Gould, who before free agency began expressed a desire to play elsewhere in 2023. It doesn’t, however, preclude the 49ers from using one of their 11 draft picks on a kicker and holding a competition at the position to ensure Gonzalez doesn’t suffer lingering effects of missing a year due to an injury.
In five seasons Gonzalez has played in 63 games. For his career he’s connected on 80.5 percent of his kicks and 94.8 percent of his extra points. In 2021 he knocked through a career-best 90.9 percent of his field goals for Carolina.
There’s a small oddity in Gonzalez’s career stat line. He’s 28-28 from 20-29 yards and 23-26 from 30-39 yards. From 50-plus yards he’s a respectable 11-18.
That 40-49 yard window has been brutal for him though. He’s 29-41 in his career, although he did hit all 10 of his tries from that distance in 2021.
Gonzalez has also regularly handled kickoffs during his career, which was a duty Gould held with the 49ers. Gonzalez’s career touchback rate is 57.8 percent, but he put up a career-high 63.6 percent in the 2021 season.
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