The Buccaneers closed the book on kicker Roberto Aguayo on Saturday one full season and one preseason game after General Manager Jason Licht traded a pair of picks to select Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft.
It was a move that was questioned immediately and derided every time Aguayo missed kicks, including a pair of them in the team’s preseason opener on Friday night. Licht told Peter King of TheMMQB.com that he and coach Dirk Koetter discussed dropping Aguayo after that game and then pulled the trigger after sleeping on it.
Licht went on to explain that he thinks he made a mistake by not bringing in competition for Aguayo last season and that he couldn’t continue to hurt the team by waiting for Aguayo to find himself.
“I’m owning up to it,” Licht said. “I’m owning up to it by releasing him. It was a bold move and it didn’t work out. 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. That’s a position that had been a rough spot for us. What did I learn from this? I’ve said this before, but when we took him, we essentially anointed him. If I could do it again, I would have gone back and brought in competition to challenge him. I look back on that a lot. Roberto is a great kid, but the magnitude of that position, and the pressure on a 21-year-old — his performance is affecting the lives of men who have families to support. That got tough.”
Aguayo was claimed by the Bears on Sunday, so we’ll get a chance to see if things work out any better for him in a different setting. Even if it does, the Bucs’ experience means there probably won’t be many people clamoring to make such a big move for a kicker in the draft.