There was a time when Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Jason Licht believed he was getting one of the best kickers in football when he used a second-round pick on Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo.
And then what happened was nothing short of utter disappointment.
Aguayo made just 22 of 31 field goal attempts (71%) and missed a pair of kicks in the team’s preseason-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The struggles, plus the addition of Nick Folk, led Tampa Bay to part ways with the second-year kicker over the weekend. For Licht, the process of coming to grips with a botched pick has begun.
“I’m owning up to it by releasing him. It was a bold move and it didn’t work out,” Licht told The MMQB.com. “I don’t know what else to say. I know I have the support of my coach and my ownership. At the time, I was bound and determined to get the best kicker we possibly could. I thought Roberto had the chance to be a special kicker in the league for a long time.”
Luckily for Aguayo, the Chicago Bears provided a soft landing when they claimed him on waivers. He’ll go up against Connor Barth, who in an ironic twist of fate, lost his job as Bucs kicker to Aguayo last year. Barth had his own struggles in 2016, but Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic tweets that Connor Barth was perfect according to head coach John Fox. That’s certainly one way to keep a hold on your job on the first day of competition. As for Aguayo, he sounds ready to move on and embrace another summer of competition.
Brad Biggs has the details of the Bears’ financial commitment to Aguayo – which is a small chunk of change that is pretty inconsequential. If things go well and Aguayo reverts to his collegiate form, the Bears could have a quality kicker on a rookie scale deal moving forward. And if things don’t go as planned, they were probably looking for a kicker in 2018 anyway.
As a reminder, Robbie Gould made just 77.8 percent of his field goal attempts in his rookie season with the Bears back in 2005. He went onto be successful on 86.1 percent of his attempts from 2006 to 2015. So maybe we shouldn’t write off the second-year kicker from Florida State just yet.