The San Francisco 49ers have found their kicker for the 2023 season as they acquired Zane Gonzalez from the Carolina Panthers for a conditional late-round draft pick in 2025. Gonzalez, originally a seventh-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2017, had stints with the Arizona Cardinals and the Panthers since leaving the Browns. Unfortunately, he missed the entirety of the 2022 season due to an injury, but he is excited to start fresh with the 49ers.
The acquisition of Gonzalez puts an end to any chance of a reunion with Robbie Gould, who was already on record for desiring to play elsewhere for the 2023 season. Gould, who served as the kicker for the 49ers for four seasons, held the duty of handling kickoffs. Gonzalez has experience in handling kickoffs, with his career touchback rate standing at 57.8 percent, which provides a viable solution for the 49ers’ special team needs.
During his career, Gonzalez has played in 63 games and has connected on 80.5 percent of his kicks and 94.8 percent of his extra points. Although he has struggled from the 40-49 yard range, his performance in 2021 demonstrated his potential to improve. He went 10-for-10 from that distance, increasing his overall career success rate to 70.7 percent in this category. Gonzalez’s agent, Mike McCartney, confirmed the trade, and Gonzalez expressed his enthusiasm to join the 49ers and make a positive impact in the upcoming NFL season.
San Francisco has become a home to many promising talent prospects. The acquisition of Gonzalez is not only an upgrade in the special teams department, but it is also an indication of the 49ers’ intention to provide ample opportunities to ambitious athletes eager to develop their skills. With their newly acquired kicker and their number of draft picks for 2023, it appears that the 49ers are set to have a successful and competitive season.