Monday, December 11, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs vs. Roberto Aguayo? Bears pick up cut kicker

TAMPA — One day after the Bucs parted ways with former second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, Tampa Bay fans had another twist to ponder on Sunday: Aguayo kicking against the Bucs? In Week 2, at Raymond James Stadium?

Aguayo, the former All-American at Florida State, was claimed off waivers by the Bears, where —- in another wrinkle — he'll compete with veteran Connor Barth, who was cut by the Bucs last year after they drafted Aguayo.

The move does have some financial benefit for the Bucs — by claiming Aguayo, the Bears are assuming his rookie contract, which means the Bucs are off the hook for what was $428,000 in guaranteed 2017 base salary for Aguayo. The Bears are now responsible for that, whether he makes the team or not, an investment that suggests he'll have a real chance to challenge Barth for Chicago's kicking job.

The Bucs and Bears have had plenty of reunion drama in recent years, with then-Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith coaching against and losing to his old team in 2014 and 2015, and safety Chris Conte getting a pick-six against his former team in last year's 36-10 Bucs win. The upcoming game on Sept. 17 should also likely feature former Bucs backup quarterback Mike Glennon, who signed a three-year, $43.5-million deal with the Bears, going up against his old team.

The Bucs had their own Aguayo aftermath Sunday, adding another kicker to challenge Nick Folk during training camp when they signed former Saints and Rams kicker Zach Hocker.

Hocker, 25, was a seventh-round pick of the Redskins in 2014 but never played for Washington. He kicked for the Saints and Rams in 2015, going 10-for-14 on field goals with a long of 51 yards and 12-of-13 on extra points. He was in camp with the Bengals last year but was among their final cuts.

Folk, with $750,000 guaranteed on his contract, is now a strong favorite to be the Bucs' kicker for 2017. Aguayo was cut after missing an extra point and field goal in Friday's preseason opener. By adding Hocker, the Bucs can split reps in practice and keep competition in the preseason with Folk.

Hocker has played in the Tampa Bay area before. After his college career at Arkansas, he played in the 2014 East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, hitting three field goals, including a 56-yarder. He faced the Bucs once with the Saints in 2015, missing an extra point and a 42-yard field goal in a 26-19 Bucs victory.

Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Comments
Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Explosives? On 40-yard plays, Bucs among NFL’s worst

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has key statistics that he puts great value in, finding a close correlation between success in those areas and success on the scoreboard. Winning the takeaway battle is always first among those priorities, but he and his staff...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Another close game that got away

Bucs Cannon Fodder podcast: Another close game that got away

In his latest Cannon Fodder podcast, Greg Auman looks back on the Bucs’ 24-21 loss to the Lions, Gerald McCoy’s injury, reports of Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter friction and another close game that got away from Tampa Bay on the way to a 4-9 record. Li...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Do Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter get along?

Rick and Tom podcast: Do Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter get along?

The Bucs guarantee another losing season after turning the ball over five times in a 24-21 loss to the Lions. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about how the Bucs stayed in the game until the end despite a non-existent pass rush...
Updated: 3 hours ago
The Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship: It’s complicated

The Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship: It’s complicated

  TAMPA — There are lies, damn lies and statistics, none of which are working in favor of Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter avoiding a split in the near future. Even before the Bucs turned the football over five times and lost to the Detroit Li...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Report: Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship ‘is not in a good place’

Report: Jameis Winston-Dirk Koetter relationship ‘is not in a good place’

Jameis Winston is displeased with how coach Dirk Koetter has handled Winston's shoulder injury and the Bucs offense, according to an NFL Network report Sunday. “The relationship between quarterback Jameis Winston and Koetter is not in a good p...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won’t survive this

  TAMPA — Dirk Koetter isn’t going to return as coach of the Bucs next season. That’s not official. No announcement has been made. No press conference is scheduled. It’s not an absolute fact. Not yet. And this isn’t a...
Updated: 6 hours ago
NFL Week 14: What we learned

NFL Week 14: What we learned

Aaron Rodgers is ready to return, but is he needed in Green Bay? Backup QB Brett Hundley is 2-0 in OT; Rodgers is 1-7. The Pack has its Mr. Clutch, right? Yeah, right. Its 27-21 OT win at Cleveland keeps it alive for a wild-card spot. Mr. Rodgers, yo...
Published: 12/10/17
Bucs-Lions journal: Backup lineman was most unlikely of targets

Bucs-Lions journal: Backup lineman was most unlikely of targets

TAMPA — The Bucs’ unlikely comeback to erase a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter was capped by the most unlikely of targets. Tampa Bay tied the game when Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard pass to 305-pound Leonard Wester, a backup lineman who lined ...
Published: 12/10/17
Gerald McCoy leaves game with shoulder/bicep injury

Gerald McCoy leaves game with shoulder/bicep injury

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy left Sunday's  game against the Lions in the second quarter with an injury to his shoulder/biceps muscle. The team says his return is doubtful.The Bucs were tied 7-7 with the Lions when McCoy was sidelined. He'...
Published: 12/10/17
Fennelly: Gerald McCoy’s lost season may be over

Fennelly: Gerald McCoy’s lost season may be over

TAMPA — It was the face of a losing season.Gerald McCoy’s tearful, contorted face.Up there on the video boards at Raymond James Stadium. On your TV screen. Everywhere."I’m not a quitter," McCoy said. "I don’t play to lose."The Bucs lost their ninth g...
Published: 12/10/17