The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ended their kicking competition after just one preseason game.
The Bucs released Roberto Aguayo, the team announced Saturday. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times first reported the development.
Tampa cut bait on the former second-round pick after he missed an extra point and a 47-yard field goal in Friday’s 23-12 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the preseason opener.
The Bucs will move forward with veteran Nick Folk.
“Anytime you have to let a draft pick go, it’s not something that you look forward to doing, but it’s a production business,” Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter told reporters Saturday. “We’ve been saying it — it’s unfortunate because Roberto is a good kid. He is trying to do the right thing, but again, it’s a production business. I’m sure he’ll get another opportunity and he’s just got to learn from this and move on.
“This allows us as a team to get behind Nick [Folk]. There’s pressure even in that. It will allow us, as a team, to support Nick and move forward.”
Asked who was in the room when he cut Aguayo, the Bucs coach said, “Me, Jason and Hard Knocks.”
Koetter said that Tampa Bay will sign another kicker soon to have another leg in camp.
Aguayo lasted just one season with the Buccaneers after the team traded up in the second round last year to select the Florida State product. Aguayo struggled through a painful rookie season. He missed nine of 31 field-goal attempts and botched two of 34 extra point tries. In 2016, Aguayo didn’t only struggle with accuracy, he also showed little length, with his longest field goal coming from 43 yards.
The Bucs signed Folk this offseason to provide competition. The $750,000 guaranteed they gave the veteran signaled Aguayo was on the verge of losing his job.
Aguayo had an up-and-down summer, still struggling with accuracy issues during practice. Friday’s misses were enough for the Bucs to determine he wasn’t the answer.
Giving up on a second-round pick after just one season is a disastrous circumstance for Tampa. But for a team with playoff aspirations, they couldn’t enter the season with a shaky kicking situation. Moving on now is likely the best for all parties. The Bucs have a reliable option in Folk, and Aguayo could use a change of scenery to help clear his head.