Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

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.

Bucs release kicker Roberto Aguayo

08/12/17 [Last modified: Sunday, August 13, 2017 12:39am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. USF defense feeds on Temple offense to take NCAA interceptions lead

    College

    TAMPA — Backed up in his end zone, Temple quarterback Logan Marchi scrambled, trying to elude a USF defensive end coming straight for him. Until then, Marchi hadn't had much luck hitting his receivers.

    South Florida Bulls safety Devin Abraham (20) sacks Temple Owls quarterback Logan Marchi (12) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 21, 2017.
  2. No. 21 USF Bulls roll over Temple to stay undefeated

    College

    TAMPA — They emerged from Raymond James Stadium's southwest tunnel on the 11-month anniversary of their public humiliation at Temple.

    Bulls tailback Darius Tice, who rushes for 117 yards, is elated by his 47-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter for a 10-0 lead.
  3. Fennelly: USF thrashes Temple to stay unbeaten; too bad not many saw it in person

    College

    TAMPA

    No. 21 USF ran its record to 4-0 Thursday night with some payback against Temple, a 43-7 trouncing, no contest, as if anyone cares, at least judging by the paltry crowd at Raymond James Stadium. Where was everybody?

    Bulls cornerback Deatrick Nichols (3) celebrates with teammates after making a defensive play during the first half.
  4. Former Ray Tim Beckham's over being traded, or is he?

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — As the Rays reunited Thursday with Tim Beckham for the first time since he was dealt July 31 to Baltimore, it became very clear that not everything in assessing the trade is as it appears.

    Tim Beckham, here in action Monday against the Red Sox, has hit .310, with 10 homers and 26 RBIs since going to the Orioles.
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Thursday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    The Rays still talk about having a shot to make the playoffs. But recognizing and correcting mistakes will help them next year, such as Mallex Smith trying to steal third in the first. "Those are the little things we've got to find how to eliminate real quick," manager Kevin Cash said.