Saturday, February 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs release kicker Roberto Aguayo

TAMPA — The Bucs shrunk the goal posts for Roberto Aguayo. Before he ever worked a day in the NFL, they hired Lucy to hold for Charlie Brown.

Good grief.

The Bucs released Aguayo on Saturday morning, a few hours after he missed two kicks in a preseason loss at Cincinnati.

"We saw what that movie was like last year," coach Dirk Koetter said. "We're just not going to go that direction anymore."

Drafting one of the most accurate placekickers in college football history was not a mistake. Drafting him in the second round was.

From the minute Aguayo walked into One Buc Place last year, he felt like he had to be Mr. Perfect. Not a hair or a field goal out of place. The decision to draft him so high, presumably made by general manager Jason Licht, was immediately put through the blender. On puree.

The pundits at ESPN ripped it. The statistics website Pro Football Focus slapped a D grade on the pick, saying "there are much better players on the board."

Heck, even Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks recognized there was a problem when he confronted Aguayo at the Bucs' rookie orientation.

"How'd you feel when everyone said they should not have picked you that high?" Brooks asked him in front of teammates. "You felt (ticked) off. Don't lie to me! 'I'm going to show them.' C'mon, man, that's what you felt. Then when you got here, you were nervous."

"I knew what I could do," Aguayo said. "There was a little anger, but I knew."

Brooks countered, "Then you thought Jameis (Winston, Aguayo's teammate at Florida State) was down there, so I'll be all right."

Though Licht has taken sole responsibility for the decision, it always felt like somebody else put their hand on the scale. Maybe Winston. Maybe the Glazer family. We'll never know.

Why else would a team trade a third-round pick (74th overall) and a fourth-rounder (106) to move up 15 spots and take Aguayo in the second round (59)? In all likelihood, Aguayo still would've been on the board in the third round.

Sure, Aguayo was a Lou Groza Award winner as the best placekicker in college. If he had fulfilled his promise, the Bucs would not have had to address the position for maybe 10 years.

But Florida State was such a powerhouse when he was there, especially with Winston at quarterback, that Aguayo rarely had to make a pressure kick. Furthermore, there were plenty of reasons to question his leg strength.

In 2015 at FSU he connected on only 5 of 9 field goals from 41 yards and beyond. Aguayo had attempted only six kicks of 50-plus yards during his college career. So when Aguayo went 4-of-11 from 40 yards-plus last season, should that have been so shocking?

His longest made field goal as a rookie was 43 yards. Was it the added pressure of having to live up to such a lofty price tag or just bad scouting? My guess it was a whole lot of the first and a little of the second.

The life of an NFL kicker is lonely. Make or miss. No coaching is involved. That's why they call kickers specialists.

But after watching Aguayo struggle to make a league-worst 71 percent of his field-goal attempts in 2016, the Bucs hedged their bets in the offseason. They signed veteran free agent Nick Folk, guaranteeing him $750,000.

Folk will never be confused with Sebastian Janikowski. He is a career 81.3 percent field-goal kicker and hasn't exactly torn it up during training camp. But at least he's not Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Wide Right. Folk made his only attempt Friday against the Bengals and was good from 45 yards.

Aguayo was a $2 million mistake. But it's more than the money. It's the other positions and players needed that got away.

Aguayo's release doesn't mean his career is over. It's very likely a team claims him off waivers.

Mike Nugent was drafted in the second round in 2005 and made it through four years with the Jets but got cut by the Bucs and Cardinals before finding a real home with the Bengals. Matt Bryant wasn't drafted, played for three teams in three years and is still kicking, having made his first Pro Bowl for the Falcons at 41.

Aguayo put on a brave face after Friday's game. When he was released Saturday morning, only Licht, Koetter and Hard Knocks were in the room.

That might be the unkindest cut of all.

     
   
Comments
Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

Bucs awarded compensatory draft pick in seventh round

The Bucs finally have a compensatory draft pick.For the first time since 2011, Tampa Bay has played the free-agent game well enough to be awarded a comp pick — after the seventh round, 255th overall, the next to last in the draft.Comp picks hav...
Published: 02/23/18
Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon

Bucs need a backup plan at quarterback; best bets are Ryan Fitzpatrick or (maybe) Mike Glennon

TAMPA – Finding a quarterback is a big priority for the Bucs this off-season. That's not a misprint. No, they're not looking to replace Jameis Winston. Far from it. But they may need to find their version of the Eagles' Nick Foles — excep...
Published: 02/23/18
Despite warnings to stay in school, Chase Litton confident about draft prospects

Despite warnings to stay in school, Chase Litton confident about draft prospects

As he made the tough decision whether to return to Marshall for his senior season, quarterback Chase Litton reached out to the NFL's advisory committee, which gives underclassmen a sense of where they're likely to be drafted should they leave early."...
Published: 02/23/18
Bucs won’t tender injured LB Adarius Glanton, DB Jude Adjei-Barimah

Bucs won’t tender injured LB Adarius Glanton, DB Jude Adjei-Barimah

The Bucs have started the internal decisions that lead up to the start of free agency in three weeks, letting two restricted free agents recovering from injury —  LB Adarius Glanton and DB Jude Adjei-Barimah — know that they won't be...
Published: 02/23/18
Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

Police: DeSean Jackson’s former Eagles teammate drove truck found wrecked with bullets, marijuana inside

TAMPA  — With no witnesses and no video evidence, Tampa Police have stopped investigating a case from Christmas Eve that had a truck belonging to Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson found wrecked and abandoned in a mall parking lot with hollow-po...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs QB Jameis Winston uninjured in car wreck

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was not hurt in a car wreck last week in which he was cited for careless driving.Winston, 24, was driving on the Veterans Expressway near Waters Avenue in northwest Tampa on Feb. 13 when his Ford F250 truck rear-ended ...
Published: 02/22/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

Bucs sign ex-New Hampshire RB Dalton Crossan

February signings in the NFL usually face long odds to stick on rosters in the fall, but the Bucs added to their running back depth on Thursday, signing former New Hampshire star Dalton Crossan.Crossan, who turns 24 on Sunday, went to training camp l...
Published: 02/22/18
Brentson Buckner wants more than sacks from Bucs d-line

Brentson Buckner wants more than sacks from Bucs d-line

Much has been made of the Bucs finishing last in the NFL in sacks with just 22 during the 2017 season, but new defensive line coach Brentson Buckner says he measures success in much more than the ultimate goal of a sack."You play 1,300 plays, you hav...
Published: 02/22/18
New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

New D-line coach Brentson Buckner wants to make Bucs pass rush great again

This isn't the first time Brentson Buckner has wanted to get closer to the Bucs defensive line.As a defensive tackle for the Panthers, Buckner's team went 7-9 in 2002, the inaugural season for the NFC South.Tampa Bay won the division that year, and w...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/22/18
New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs assistant Brentson Buckner knows challenge of NFC South QBs

New Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner understands full well what a challenge he'll face in trying to bring down three talented quarterbacks in the NFC South this season."Not getting much sleep," Buckner said, asked of his expectations in a d...
Published: 02/21/18