TAMPA ― The player who steadied the Bucs’ poor history of wayward kickers is moving on.
Ryan Succop, who ended a failed parade of drafted placekickers, such as Roberto Aguayo and Matt Gay, has been released in a move that will save the Bucs $3.75 million on the salary cap.
Succop, 36, had one year remaining on his contract that was not guaranteed and was coming off his worst season with the Bucs, connecting on only 81.6% of his field goal attempts.
Perhaps more importantly, head coach Todd Bowles said after the season that he wanted someone who had more range. Succop was only 2-for-7 on field goals of 50 yards or more. The average distance of those attempts was 52.3 yards, which means they weren’t relying on him for record-breaking attempts.
“Ryan was very efficient this year, but we’ve got to be able to kick longer field goals than we’ve kicked,” Bowles said at the end of the season. “I think we’ve got to get past 47 yards, be able to kick from 50, 55 yards as well.”
Succop leaves as the most accurate kicker in Bucs history with a field goal percentage of 84.8 (84-for-99), breaking Connor Barth’s mark of 83.8.
Succop had his best season with the Bucs in 2020 (when they went on to win Super Bowl 55), going 28-for-31 on field goal attempts (90.3%). But he declined the last two years, connecting on 83.3% and 81.6.
The Bucs signed Jake Verity to a futures contract at the end of last season. He has never kicked in the NFL but was 74-for-98 (75.5%) on field goals at East Carolina, including 4-for-10 from 50 yards or longer.
The Bucs didn’t have a ton of success in their kicking game prior to Succop’s arrival.
They used a second-round pick on Aguayo in 2016, but he lasted only one season, going 22-for-31 on field goal attempts (71%. Gay was a fifth-round pick in 2019 but went just 27-for-35 (77.1%) and was released after only one season. He went on to enjoy a Pro Bowl career with the Rams and recently signed a four-year, $22.5 million contract with the Colts.
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