Former Georgia Tech kicker Harrison Butker (7) made a 51-yard field goal in his first game for the Carolina Panthers.
Photo: Chuck Burton/AP
Photo: Chuck Burton/AP

Butker makes Panthers roster, but more moves possible

Harrison Butker has a spot in the NFL – sort of.

Butker, Georgia Tech’s all-time leading scorer, has made it onto the Carolina Panthers’ 53-man roster. However, so has kicker Graham Gano, the veteran who has been with the team for the past five seasons.

According to a Saturday online report in the Charlotte Observer, Panthers interim general manager Marty Hurney is hoping to trade one and get value in return rather than cut one. It’s conceivable the Panthers could keep both, but “it’s hard to see both guys sticking around very long.”

Gano was 3-for-5 in the preseason, missing two from 50 and beyond. Butker was 2-for-2 with a make from 51 yards.

Carolina drafted Butker after Gano’s performance dipped in 2016, making 30 of 38 field-goal attempts. According to NFL reporter Ian Rapoport, the Panthers were fielding interest in Gano Saturday.

Keeping Butker over Gano would save the Panthers considerable cap room. Cutting Gano would create about $3.2 million in cap room, while Butker would make $465,000 this year.

The four other former Tech players in camp as rookies, linebacker P.J. Davis (Jacksonville), defensive linemen Patrick Gamble (New York Jets) and Francis Kallon (Pittsburgh) and wide receiver Justin Thomas (Pittsburgh) were all cut by their respective teams Friday and Saturday. All are eligible to be signed by other teams or practice squads.

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