The Tampa Bay Buccaneers brought in six kickers on Monday in an effort to replace Nick Folk, who has missed seven kicks (five field goals and two extra points) through the first four games of the 2017 season. In the end, the one who was signed was a familiar face – Patrick Murray.
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.
During Thursday night’s 19-14 loss to New England in which Folk missed three field goals, Murray retweeted a post of himself kicking a long field goal, showing that he is now healthy and ready to be signed.
Folk is being placed on injured reserve with a minor designation, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which means the team must release him once he’s healthy.
The Bucs also worked out Marshall Koehn, Andrew Franks, Josh Lambo and former Bucs kicker Mike Nugent on Monday, in addition to bringing in Cairo Santos, who was the Kansas City 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 brought him in for a physical to confirm that.
If Murray struggles in the coming weeks and Santos returns from injury, don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay makes another switch at kicker this season.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org