The Panthers cut a kicker Wednesday but signed another, maintaining a backup to compete with Olindo Mare after the veteran's disappointing first season in Charlotte.
The Panthers signed Justin Medlock to a three-year contract at the league minimum, beginning with a $390,000 base salary this year, according to the NFLPA Web site.
Medlock, 28, was a fifth-round draft pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2007 out of UCLA. He was the first kicker drafted that year, ahead of Nick Folk, now with the New York Jets, and Green Bay's Mason Crosby.
Medlock made 1 of 2 field goals in the 2007 opener before the Chiefs released him. He spent most of the last three years in the Canadian Football League.
The Panthers signed Medlock in favor of Adi Kunalic, who had two stints with the team last year but did not kick in a regular-season game. Kunalic was with the Panthers in training camp, and re-signed in December after Mare missed a pair of short, fourth-quarter field goals.
"Justin is a talented young kicker who was highly regarded coming out of college," Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement released by the team. "Like a lot of young kickers he has been with a couple different teams. With the opportunity to sign him, we made the decision to replace Adi Kunalic."
Medlock was a CFL All-Star for Hamilton last season after making 49 of 55 field goals, with a long of 57 yards. Medlock made seven field goals in a game last season.
CFL kickers are allowed to use a kicking block, although Medlock kicked off the ground, according to Frank Murtha, his agent.
"He's assuming that he's going to compete with Olindo all the way through training camp," said Murtha, who also represents Panthers punter Jason Baker. "He was highly sought after as a CFL free agent. But he knows coming down to the Panthers that he's going to have to compete with Olindo."
The Panthers signed Mare to a four-year, $12 million contract last summer after the lockout and released John Kasay. A member of the Panthers' inaugural team in 1995, Kasay kicked for New Orleans after Carolina cut him.
At the time of Kasay's release, Hurney said the Panthers didn't want to use a roster spot on a kickoff specialist, as they did in Kasay's last few years with the team.
Mare was second in the league with 53 touchbacks. But his .786 field goal percentage was tied for 24th among 31 kickers with at least 19 attempts.
SCHWARTZ LIKELY GONE: The Panthers are not expected to tender offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, who is eligible to become a restricted free agent next week.
The Panthers would have to offer Schwartz a minimum of $1.2 million for one season. They are said to have reservations about committing that much money to a player coming off hip surgery.
Schwartz, 25, a seventh-round pick in 2007, started all 16 games in 2010 when right tackle Jeff Otah was out. But Schwartz spent all of last season on injured reserve following his surgery.
Deryk Gilmore, Schwartz's agent, said doctors told him Schwartz is fully recovered from the surgery.
"Geoff would love to be back with the Panthers," Gilmore said. "But if not, we're looking to the future."
Linebacker Jason Phillips, the Panthers' only other restricted free agent, signed a one-year extension last month.