Although the Bucs didn’t play on Sunday it could turn out to be “Victory Monday” in Tampa Bay for a team that is looking to replace kicker Nick Folk after he missed three field goals in Thursday night’s 19-14 loss to New England. Folk missed seven kicks – five field goals and two extra points – in the Bucs’ first four games.
The kicker he replaced, 2016 second-round draft pick Roberto Aguayo, missed 11 kicks – nine field goals and two extra points – in all 16 games during his rookie season. In an attempt to upgrade the kicker position the Bucs actually took an unexpected step back with the signing of Folk, an 11-year veteran who was cut by the New York Jets in the offseason.
PewterReport.com has confirmed that there will be six kickers in for tryouts on Monday, including two former Buccaneers in Pat Murray and Mike Nugent. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Josh Lambo, Andrew Franks are trying out today at One Buccaneer Place and that Folk’s job “hangs in the balance.”
It’s hard to imagine that with five kickers trying out for Tampa Bay’s kicking job that Folk won’t be replaced by one of them.
The Tampa Bay Times’ Greg Auman reports that Marshall Koehn, a former kicker in Miami, is also on the list. Koehn, 25, connected on 2-of-3 field goals, including a 58-yarder, and was 5-of-6 on extra points before losing out to NFL veteran Kai Forbath.
Perhaps the most intriguing name on the list is former Kansas City kicker Cairo Santos, who was the Chiefs’ kicker the last four years. He’s made 89-of-105 field goals (84.8 percent) of his career and 125-of-130 extra points (96.2 percent). The Brazilian born Santos connected on 88.6 percent of his field goals last year (31-of-35), including both from 50 yards and beyond, and was 36-of-39 on extra points (92.3 percent).
Santos was a perfect 3-of-3 on field goals and 12-of-12 on extra points in the first three games this season before the Chiefs released him with a groin injury. Santos is expected to be out at least two more weeks and the Bucs are bringing him in for a physical to confirm that.
Murray was Tampa Bay’s kicker in 2014 and hit on 83.3 percent of his kicks (20-of-24), including 5-of-6 from 50 yards and beyond, but an injury in training camp allowed Connor Barth to assume the kicking duties in 2015. Murray signed with Cleveland in 2016 where he was 1-of-2 before another injury cost him the rest of the season.
Nugent was a high-priced signing in 2009 after a four-year run with the New York Jets. But Nugent, who replaced veteran Bucs kicker Matt Bryant, only lasted four games as he went 2-of-6 (33.3 percent) on field goals. Nugent landed in Cincinnati in 2010 where he hit 80 percent or better in four out of six seasons. He was released after the 2016 season after connecting on 79.3 percent (23-of-29) of his field goals last year and an identical 79.3 percent (23-of-29) percent of his extra points.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com