John Kasay replaced in Carolina by Olindo Mare

One of the greatest players in Carolina Panthers history – if you can get over the fact he’s a kicker – is headed out.

The Panthers have signed Olindo Mare to a four-year contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports, signaling the end of a run for Kasay in Carolina. Kasay was due to earn $2 million this season.

It’s an interesting addition because while Mare has a very strong leg, kickoffs are going to be easier for all kickers to achieve this season with new rules. So, the 38-year-old Mare doesn’t have quite the same value he would have, but consider he’s missed only 10 field goals over the span of the last three regular seasons.

The Panthers are on a spending spree and one of the next questions – besides who gets paid – is what will happen with veteran wide receiver Steve Smith. He’s been rumored to want out but there hasn’t been a lot of noise regarding the receiver yet.

Kasay is his best friend in the locker room,” longtime Panthers beat man Darin Gantt wrote. “More of a signal he's gone.”

Stay tuned.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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