There's a new leg in town, and he'll have big cleats to fill as the 49ers' placekicker.
Kicker Joey Slye, whom the 49ers signed after placing Robbie Gould on Injured Reserve this week with a groin injury, will be tasked with field goal, extra point and possibly kick-off duties in Gould's absence.
Signed as an undrafted free agent out of college in 2019, Slye won the Carolina Panthers' kicking job in his rookie season before signing with the Houston Texans two years later. Waived by Houston on September 30, Slye will fill in for Gould for the next several weeks.
49ers special teams coordinator Richard Hightower gave his scouting report on the 25-year-old kicker.
“Joey [Slye] is a really good kicker, like Joey a lot," Hightower told reporters Wednesday. "Joey was obviously a guy that came in at Carolina in 2019. He was a rookie when Mitch was a rookie. He’s kicked in this stadium before. He's kicked about 80 percent. He won that job as a rookie. It’s hard to do that, you know, especially when you're not drafted, and he has a very strong leg. He had a really good workout yesterday. He had a really good workout. And he's been really good in the meetings. So, we're looking for him to come in and fill in there for us and help us win this game against Arizona.”
Over his two seasons with Carolina and three games with Houston, Slye is 58-for-73 (79.4 percent) in his career on field-goal attempts.
To compare, Gould posted marks of 95.1 percent, 97.1 percent, 74.2 percent and 82.6 percent over the last four seasons with the 49ers.
Slye has handled kickoff duties in the past and could be in store for more with the 49ers. Hightower would not say publicly if the team is planning on using Slye in that role but acknowledged that it's a possibility.
Both Slye and punter Mitch Wishnowsky are capable of pinning opposing offenses deep within their own territory. Facing off against the Arizona Cardinals and rookie return man Rondale Moore on Sunday, kickoff duties will be extra important.
"He (Slye) has a strength at that," Hightower said. "And so does Mitch. So, I think we're fortunate there to be in that situation this week, especially going against a dangerous kid like [Arizona Cardinals WR] Rondale Moore. That kid has stop-and-start ability. He is one of the -- I think he's going to be one of the elite returners in this league. He's outstanding."