Slid into the late-night news cycle during the first weekend of the college basketball tournament, it was easy to miss the fact the Buccaneers came close to admitting a giant mistake.
But in signing veteran kicker Nick Folk to compete with second-round pick Roberto Aguayo, the Bucs sent a clear message that draft status wasn’t going to equal job security.
“Read the stats, he wasn’t very good last year,’’ Bucs General Manager Jason Licht said of Agauyo, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “He wants to improve and he’s going to work at it. And we still have confidence in him but you’re always trying to get better.’’
Aguayo was a disappointing 22-of-31 on field goals last year, 71 percent accuracy for a guy who rarely missed in college. So now, not even the fact the Bucs traded up into the second round to take him secures his roster spot.
That’s a tough pill to swallow, but Licht has said previously (and not specifically about Aguayo) that holding onto a mistake only compounds it.
“The mistake would be to be prideful,’’ Licht said. “That’s the bigger mistake.’’
And at this stage, that’s the most generous way to describe the decision to move up to take Aguayo. His struggles were so profound that his own fans turned on him during the preseason, and though there was a brief flourish in midseason, he didn’t make anything longer than 43 yards.
“He’s a rookie. He’s 21 years old,’’ Licht said. “He had to learn that he’s not doing this for fun anymore. He’s got a lot of people depending on him.’’
And now, his own career depends on being better than Folk, which won’t be easy unless he returns to his college form.