One of the NFL's more accurate field goal kickers from 2008-10, Mare was signed to a four-year, $12 million contract following last year's lockout. While Mare led the NFL with 53 touchbacks, his accuracy on field goals dipped to 78.6 percent in his first season in Charlotte.
Two of Mare's six missed attempts were blocked, but two makeable attempts in fourth quarters of close games the Panthers eventually lost meant that Mare would have to compete for his job this summer. To push Mare, the Panthers brought in journeyman Justin Medlock, a 2007 fifth-round draft pick by the Kansas City Chiefs who bounced between the UFL and CFL over the last two seasons.
Both Mare and Medlock connected on all three of their field goal attempts in the first three preseason games, with Mare holding a 4-0 edge in the touchbacks department. With the two on equal footing from a production standpoint, it's possible that finances a factor.
Mare was scheduled to earn $2.1 million in base salary this season, while Medlock, who received a $50,000 bonus upon signing with the Panthers in March, will make the league minimum ($390,000).
It's also possible that the Panthers will look to bring in a free agent. Pro Bowler Billy Cundiff, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, could be an option for a Panthers team that has struggled on special teams the last two seasons.Follow Brian McIntyre on Twitter @brian_mcintyre.