Panthers extend Graham Gano for four years

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The Panthers have been clearing cap room for several reasons, not just to keep free agent Greg Hardy and replace the retired Jordan Gross.

Friday, they used part of the money to extend kicker Graham Gano for four years, keeping him under contract through the 2017 season. He was set to be an unrestricted free agent.

“The special teams unit was a large part of our success last year, and we are excited to keep Graham as a part of our team,” head coach Ron Rivera said in a release from the team. “Graham has shown range and accuracy in his field goal kicking, and his strong leg has been a weapon for us on kickoffs.”

Gano was exceptional on field goals and kickoffs for the Panthers last season, making all six of his attempts from 50 yards or longer and recording touchbacks on 77.8 percent of his kickoffs, the highest mark in the league.

Now, they have other, bigger business to do.