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Zane Gonzalez Released Ahead Of Free Agency

Kicker had been set to enter open market on March 17

Kicker Zane Gonzalez kicks a field goal during the Cardinals' game in New England in 2020.
Kicker Zane Gonzalez kicks a field goal during the Cardinals' game in New England in 2020.

Scheduled to become a free agent in two weeks, the Cardinals set Zane Gonzalez on to the open market a little sooner.

According to the NFL's official transactions report the team released the veteran kicker Friday, giving Gonzalez a chance to see his value before the market floods on March 17. NFL Network reported that Gonzalez could still return to the Cards, which makes sense depending on his options.

What the Cardinals do at kicker remains undetermined. The team signed veteran Brett Maher to a futures deal earlier this offseason. Gonzalez could come back, or the Cards could see what else is available. Veteran Mike Nugent, who took over for Gonzalez after Gonzalez suffered a back injury, is also scheduled to reach free agency.

Gonzalez had been tendered as a restricted free agent last season after a stellar 2019 season in which Gonzalez made 31-of-35 field goals and 34-of-35 extra points. But in 12 games in 2020, Gonzalez had some crucial misses in key moments, including late field-goal tries against the Seahawks, Dolphins and Patriots. Gonzalez bounced back to eventually kick the game-winning field goal in the Seattle game, but the Cards lost on late field goals against both Miami and New England. Gonzalez also missed his lone field-goal attempt in a home loss to the Rams before being sidelined with the back issue.

He was eventually placed on injured reserve, ending his season.

The former star at Arizona State finished the year making 16-of-22 field goals and 38-of-39 extra points.