It looks like the Buccaneers’ kicking competition has already been decided. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports (via Twitter) that the team has waived kicker Roberto Aguayo. Assuming he isn’t claimed, the organization will owe the player $428K (via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter).
The Buccaneers (in)famously traded up in the second-round of the 2016 draft to select the Florida State product, surrendering a third- and fourth-rounder to make the pick. Aguayo struggled mightily during his rookie campaign, connecting on a league-worst 71-percent of his field goals.
Those struggles continued during the team’s first preseason game on Friday night. Aguayo did connect on one field goal, but he also missed a 47-yard attempt and an extra point. After the game, coach Dirk Koetter sounded like his patience was wearing thin.
“You know, I keep saying it, I can’t say it anymore. If you’re a kicker, you’ve got to make your kicks,” Koetter said (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com).
Aguayo is only 23-years-old, so there’s still a chance that he could develop into a competent kicker. As NFL.com’s Albert Breer pointed out (via Twitter), former second-rounder Mike Nugent struggled mightily before ultimately finding his own in Cincinnati.
As Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times cleverly noted on Twitter, the Buccaneers are now all but assuring that they’ll have a new primary kicker for the sixth straight season. The team will be turning to veteran Nick Folk, who joined the organization back in March. The veteran spent the past seven years with the Jets, and he set a franchise record with a 81.3 career field goal percentage (he also ranks second in franchise history in total points).
While the 32-year-old struggled earlier in his career, he’s been rather consistent over the past few years, connecting on at least 80-percent of his field goals over the past four seasons. Folk is also extremely reliable on extra point attempts, as the veteran has only missed a pair of his 337 career attempts.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.