When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted a kicker in the second round last year – sorry, when the Bucs traded up to take kicker Roberto Aguayo in the second round – most right-minded people thought it was strange at best.
But while the trade and the pick didn’t make a ton of sense at the time, nobody figured Aguayo would be fighting just to make the Buccaneers’ roster a year later.
By all accounts, Aguayo is in a legitimate roster battle. The Buccaneers signed veteran Nick Folk to a one-year, $1.75 million deal with $750,000 guaranteed. That’s not camp body money. Then during an OTA practice last week Aguayo made 1-of-4 field goals during a drill with narrow goal posts while Folk didn’t miss a kick, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
This might be a way to motivate Aguayo after a shaky rookie season, although who spends a quarter-million dollars to push a kicker? All signs point to this being a legitimate competition between Folk and Aguayo, who the Buccaneers traded a third- and fourth-round pick a year ago to acquire.
“The competition has definitely started. I know everybody feels it,” coach Dirk Koetter said according to the Tampa Bay Times. “There’s a little tension when we’re going through that. That’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. This is pro football, there’s supposed to be competition.”
It would be embarrassing for the Buccaneers to move on so quickly from Aguayo, though it was embarrassing for them to make the pick in the first place. Then again, the Buccaneers should have playoff hopes and there has to be concern about a kicker who made just 22-of-31 field-goal attempts last season. Folk, a career 81.3 percent field-goal kicker over his 10 NFL seasons, is a steady option. And he didn’t cost a second-round pick.
Perhaps the Buccaneers would keep Aguayo around if he loses the competition to Folk, but teams very rarely use a roster spot on a backup kicker. Aguayo was a big-time kicker prospect coming out of Florida State and the Bucs gave up a ton to get him, so it would be hard for Tampa Bay to move on after a year. But once the Bucs brought in Folk, they opened up that possibility. It would be hard for the team to justify keeping Aguayo if Folk is the better kicker through training camp and preseason.
If Folk ends up winning the competition and Aguayo is let go, a weird draft pick will become a massive bust in just one year.
More Buccaneers news from Yahoo
– – – – – – –