Jason Licht on Roberto Aguayo: I owned up to it by releasing him

Getty Images

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.

34 responses to “Jason Licht on Roberto Aguayo: I owned up to it by releasing him

  1. Good to see you owned up to it. I still think you and managment got the YIPS that the Saints,a divison oppenent would draft Aguyo….and see how they handled their kicking whooos? They traded a low round pick to the Ravens and got a great young kicker in Lutz. Lesson learned?…NEVER, NEVER, NEVER draft a kicker or Punter HIGH! (only the late AL Davis can get away with it)

  2. “His performance is affecting the lives of men who have families to support. That got tough”… Look, he deserved to be cut, but c’mon… the only guy that needs to worry about his job over a kicker that struggled, is the GM who took him in the 2nd round…

  3. I wonder how Hard Knocks will handle this. A poor showing for the first game and then kicking the second round star kicker to the curb … yeah… the Bucs are starting to show all their “warts” real early.

  4. a true waste of such a high draft pick…however I do think he’ll get it together and be a better kicker before his career is over. the pressure is now off of him

  5. If he can’t kick in Florida off turf how do you think he will do in Soldiers field off grass and then consider outside in the winter…….

  6. Sebastian Janakowski was the 17th overall pick. I don’t buy the excuse making that being drafted in the 2nd round was to much pressure. While in college he never ventured out of the warmth of the southeast to kick in cold and rainy environments. The Bucs flat out blew this pick.

  7. His problem was never the surface or any physical conditions he was kicking in. It’s all mental. I think he’s probably done. Can’t imagine him overcoming all this.

  8. Every GM whiffs on high draft picks. I think Jason Licht deserves a pass on this one. He has brought in a lot of talent the last few years. He took a gamble that Aguyo could solidify a position of need for the next decade. I’ve seen Phil Kruger and Bruce Allen bury this team in incompetence in the past. And it takes a man with enough belief in himself to admit he goofed. Licht has stopped the bleeding on this experiment and moved forward.
    Best of luck to Roberto Aguyo as well!

  9. There are plenty of 2nd round picks that don’t work out. Bill Belichick picked Cyrus Jones in the second round two years ago as well and he could get cut too. He has problems catching punts and kickoffs and gets lost on defense. It doesn’t matter where you are drafted as a rookie. In reality, teams will ultimately use and keep the better player. In this case, it’s Folk.

  10. Not sure why these BB proteges don’t do what BB would do…Dimitrioff just wildly overpaid a scatback and Licht is taking immature kickers in Rd 2.

    Yikes.

  11. .
    Outside of the summer of Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel, this is the biggest biggest non story in years.

    First of all, the pick was at the tail end of the 2nd round. It was closer to an early 3rd. Secondly, for years, kicking had been the Bucs achilles heel. So Licht rolled the dice and lost. Every year there’s teams that botch higher picks than that. Look at the self immolation drafts turned in by media darling, Jeff Fisher, over the years.

    If you want to criticize Licht for taking a kicker early , should we then berate Belichick for taking Stephen Gostkowski in the fourth round? Should the Patriots have taken some nondescript linebacker who may have made a difference on special teams for a season or two, or a kicker who’s given them over a decade of clutch performances ?

    Kickers count because, like QBs, they put points on the board. If you can find one that can hold down the job for a decade then a late second rounder is well worth it. If I were a team with FG issues, I’d give the Ravens the 59th pick in the draft for Justin Tucker in a New York second.
    .

  12. DJacobsen says:
    August 14, 2017 at 8:52 am
    “His performance is affecting the lives of men who have families to support. That got tough”… Look, he deserved to be cut, but c’mon… the only guy that needs to worry about his job over a kicker that struggled, is the GM who took him in the 2nd round…

    _________________________________________________________________________________________

    Focus on your own team captain hot take. Jason Licht also drafted Kwon Alexander, Ali Marpet and a handful of other really good starters. This is their most talented roster in 15 yrs, because of their GM (whom by the way will get a huge a huge contract extension soon) but sure lets run the guy.

  13. 6ball says:
    August 14, 2017 at 9:39 am
    .
    Outside of the summer of Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel, this is the biggest biggest non story in years.

    First of all, the pick was at the tail end of the 2nd round. It was closer to an early 3rd. Secondly, for years, kicking had been the Bucs achilles heel. So Licht rolled the dice and lost. Every year there’s teams that botch higher picks than that. Look at the self immolation drafts turned in by media darling, Jeff Fisher, over the years.

    If you want to criticize Licht for taking a kicker early , should we then berate Belichick for taking Stephen Gostkowski in the fourth round? Should the Patriots have taken some nondescript linebacker who may have made a difference on special teams for a season or two, or a kicker who’s given them over a decade of clutch performances ?

    Kickers count because, like QBs, they put points on the board. If you can find one that can hold down the job for a decade then a late second rounder is well worth it. If I were a team with FG issues, I’d give the Ravens the 59th pick in the draft for Justin Tucker in a New York second.
    .

    1 0 Rate This

    —–

    did you just compare aguyao
    to gostkowski?

  14. @6ball- 2 things-

    1. they traded a 3rd and a 4th to move up to take him (when nobody else was going to take him that early).

    2. to say that you would trade the 59th pick for Justin Tucker is a bad comparison. Tucker has proven himself over a few years to be the the best kicker in the NFL. They didn’t have that guarantee with Aguayo

    There is no way to spin it as being a good pick, a smart choice, or a even good risk.

    If you paid $20 for one of those $1 scratch off lotto tickets, that makes you a fool. If that ticket wins you $1k, then you are a fool who got lucky.

  15. One point that gets missed regarding how bad this pick really was: Even if he’d made the same high percentage as back in college it STILL would have been a bad pick because he doesn’t have great range. At least drafting a guy high like a Janikowski who can kick it a mile theoretically gets you more points and opportunities than the average kicker. Even kicking well, Aguayo would have forced the Bucs to either skip long tries or keep a second kicker on roster for them. He was never going to be that much more reliable than the average NFL kicker (who is also very reliable) to make up for the fact he wasn’t going to win you games with last second long kicks.

  16. Anyone trading up for a kicker, should be fired.

    As I said above, I have no idea why these BB proteges go off the rails and stray from the tried and true cap approaches BB has implemented in the NFL for over 15 years now (and tried to in Cleveland, but was not allowed).

  17. tylawspick6 says:
    August 14, 2017 at 9:39 am
    Not sure why these BB proteges don’t do what BB would do…Dimitrioff just wildly overpaid a scatback and Licht is taking immature kickers in Rd 2.

    Yikes.
    ==========================================================================================
    Yikes is right. Belichick picked Cyrus Jones right before Licht selected Aguayo. The year before Belichick selected Jordan Richards in the second round. How about Dominique Easley in the first round? The guy wasn’t even healthy in college. This isn’t an exact science and criticizing Dimitroff for getting Freeman to sign a team friendly deal is foolish. Belichick is great at building rosters, but he and Caserio make their share of mistakes.

  18. .
    @roby

    Two things :

    1. You have no idea what any other team had planned.

    2. Reading is fundamental. I said if you can find a kicker to hold down the job for a decade a 2nd rounder is worth it. I’m aware of Tuckers record. My point was that’s the type PK you want, a decade guy.
    .

  19. @BobMayo

    “BobMayoOnTheKeyboard says:

    Sebastian Janakowski was the 17th overall pick. I don’t buy the excuse making that being drafted in the 2nd round was to much pressure. While in college he never ventured out of the warmth of the southeast to kick in cold and rainy environments. The Bucs flat out blew this pick.”

    Maybe it was too much pressure for Janikowski as well…he made 68% of his field goals his rookie season…worse than Aguayo’s 71% mark.

  20. Drafting a kicker or punter in any round where you can get a solid starter or valuable depth… is insane.

    The difference in the league’s best kicker and the leagues worst kicker isn’t worth a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th round selection…

    Much less trading up and using multiple picks on one.
    Crazy…

  21. pastabelly says:
    August 14, 2017 at 10:17 am
    tylawspick6 says:
    August 14, 2017 at 9:39 am
    Not sure why these BB proteges don’t do what BB would do…Dimitrioff just wildly overpaid a scatback and Licht is taking immature kickers in Rd 2.

    Yikes.
    ==========================================================================================
    Yikes is right. Belichick picked Cyrus Jones right before Licht selected Aguayo. The year before Belichick selected Jordan Richards in the second round. How about Dominique Easley in the first round? The guy wasn’t even healthy in college. This isn’t an exact science and criticizing Dimitroff for getting Freeman to sign a team friendly deal is foolish. Belichick is great at building rosters, but he and Caserio make their share of mistakes.

    0 0 Rate This

    ————-

    Umm, when you’re the greatest GM ever and usually have a load of draft tpicks to ensure you end up with a good yield, as a way to keep costs way down, keep cap control, etc, as you can see, any mistakes made by a GM or BB in this case, don’t really hurt the train known as the NE Patriots.

    BB also doesn’t trade up much.

    With the rookie cap, a whiff on a higher draft pick is not as damaging financially as what it used to be. And, with the amount of mid, late or UDFA gems BB unearths, I am pretty sure your point was absolutely pointless.

  22. The Lions took K Jason Hanson in the 2nd round back in 91. He turned out to be one of the better kickers in league history. When he retired he held the record for most 50+ yard FG’s.

    Better scouting on the K, that’s all.

  23. Why does the term ‘got family to support’ seem to be thrown around professional sports so loosely? Especially NFL? Welcome to the real world, most responsible adults have families to support, and aren’t making 6 figures plus right out of college.

  24. therealnorwegianblue says:
    August 14, 2017 at 11:10 am
    It’s spelled A-g-u-a-y-o. Kudos to the one or two commenters who made the effort.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________

    U agayo? Wot?

  25. Still can’t believe my Bears took this head case on. What he was in college doesn’t matter. He’s proven he can’t get it done in the bigs.

  26. Look, the trade up to draft Aguayo obviously didn’t work and Licht owned up to it and everyone is moving on. But let’s not pretend we know that every other team was going to pass on Aguayo. Maybe they wouldn’t have picked him in the 2nd round but I clearly remember the trade and reports coming out that the Vikings (another team with kicker issues) were looking at grabbing Aguayo in the early stages of the 3rd round.

  27. eazeback says:
    August 14, 2017 at 8:58 am
    a true waste of such a high draft pick…however I do think he’ll get it together and be a better kicker before his career is over. the pressure is now off of him
    ________________________________

    No worse than the Cowboys selecting Randy Gregory in the 2nd round – and all the experts applauded that pick. At least the Bucs had the grapes to move on from their mistake.

  28. bassplucker says:

    August 14, 2017 at 11:20 am

    Still can’t believe my Bears took this head case on. What he was in college doesn’t matter. He’s proven he can’t get it done in the bigs.
    ————————————————————————————————

    Doesn’t really hurt them to bring him in to push Barth, who is just a guy at the position. If he bombs, they are only out a few hundred thousand in guarantees, and they have plenty of cap room. If he pulls it together, the Bears could have a cheap young kicker for the next few years.

  29. This guy never showed that he could kick accurately over 40 yards in college. This was a GM who got over excited without doing their homework on the kid. If by chance he turned out to be a good kicker, we wouldn’t be talking about this being a stupid pick. People would have all but forgotten about trading up, etc. So, I don’t mind that they used the pick on him, I just wish they had done their due diligence to make sure he was the next Sea Bass. That was not done. Someone in scouting should have raised a stink to bring things back to reality.

  30. Umm, when you’re the greatest GM ever and usually have a load of draft tpicks to ensure you end up with a good yield, as a way to keep costs way down, keep cap control, etc, as you can see, any mistakes made by a GM or BB in this case, don’t really hurt the train known as the NE Patriots.
    =====

    Vince Lombardi passed away in 1970.

    Guess you missed the memo.

  31. thegregwitul says:
    . . . But let’s not pretend we know that every other team was going to pass on Aguayo. Maybe they wouldn’t have picked him in the 2nd round but I clearly remember the trade and reports coming out that the Vikings (another team with kicker issues) were looking at grabbing Aguayo in the early stages of the 3rd round.

    Anyone who has followed the game for any amount of time knows reports of that nature are very common at draft time. Most begin as rumors floated by opposing teams or agents in hopes of manipulating the draft. The media runs with them, and fans cite them to support their position.
    Letting it be known your team is interested in Player A is an attempt (often futile) at getting another team to panic and reach for him, leaving Player B on the board for you. It’s also a way for an agent to try to get his client drafted a little higher, or to avoid him ending up with a team he doesn’t want to go to.
    Roberto Aguayo was a very accurate kicker in college. But in an age where NFL kickers are routinely accurate from beyond 50 yards, he didn’t seem to have a strong leg and rarely hit from beyond 46 at Florida State.
    It’s highly unlikely that Minnesota or any other teams were very serious about drafting Aguayo near the top of the third round. There’s no can’t prove my position, of course, but history and the scouting reports are on my side.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.