After just one preseason game, the kicking competition is over. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are moving on from Roberto Aguayo.
Less than 24 hours after watching the 2016 second round pick miss two kicks in their preseason opener, the Bucs cut Aguayo loose this morning after just one season in Tampa.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have waived kicker Roberto Aguayo.
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@TBBuccaneers) August 12, 2017
The Buccaneers traded up to draft Aguayo in the second round out of Florida State, drawing plenty of criticism. That criticism never disappeared, as Aguayo struggled mightily as a rookie. His field goal percentage of 71% was the worst in the NFL. Coming out of college, Aguayo was an All-American who never missed an extra point and was nearly automatic on field goals. However, he not only struggled with accuracy in the NFL, but never made a kick longer than 43 yards.
Tampa Bay put Aguayo on notice in March by signing kicker Nick Folk to a contract worth $750,000 to be competition for the youngster. During the preseason opener, a 23-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Aguayo converted his first field goal, a 20-yarder. Unfortnately for him, his night didn’t get better, as he bounced an extra point off the right upright. Late in the game, he pushed a 47-yard attempt wide right. By comparison, Folk made his only attempt, a 45-yarder.
Entering training camp, the kicking competition served as one of the big question marks for a team with playoff aspirations. After what they saw from their kickers in Cincinnati, the Bucs decided to rid themselves of any further uncertainty.
While general manager Jason Licht deserves his share of criticism for trading up for Aguayo, he also deserves credit for realizing his mistake now and moving on. This isn’t like whiffing on a high pick at quarterback and watching your franchise get set back for years. Kickers are pretty easily replaceable. Although moving up for a kicker in the second round wasn’t a good move, it also wasn’t the worst draft pick in Bucs history. Not by a long shot.