Special Teams Player of the Year — Joey Slye, K
After being signed originally as a “camp leg” to give Graham Gano a chance to nurse a leg injury, Joey Slye was nearly automatic during the preseason, and wowed the team and fans with his booming leg. Nicknamed “swole kicker,” Slye impressed the Panthers enough for them to put Gano on Injured Reserve before the season started, giving Slye the opportunity to be Carolina’s full-time kicker in 2019.
In his first year in the NFL, Slye made 25 of his 32 attempts, including an impressive 8-of-11 from 50+ yards. 66 of his 70 kickoffs went for touchbacks, which was by far the best rate for kickers who appeared in all 16 regular-season contests. Despite his booming potential and overall good work, it is fair to question whether or not the Panthers should stick with the Virginia Tech product in the long run.
Slye’s field-goal percentage wasn’t great, and he ranked next-to-last in PAT percentage. None of his performances were more crushing than his Week 12 meltdown against New Orleans where he missed two field goals–including a potential game-winner–and an extra point. Regardless, he was probably still Carolina’s best specialist this past season. It will be an interesting battle moving forward between he and Gano this spring and throughout camp.