Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said Monday all options will be on the table in regard to Roberto Aguayo’s future as the team’s kicker next season.
On Wednesday, the organization supported that statement by signing a kicker to a futures contract. Rookie John Lunsford, a native of Fort Myers, spent this season with the San Francisco 49ers but was never active for a game after preseason.
Also signed to a futures contract Wednesday was tight end Kivon Cartwright. The rookie out of Colorado State was with the Bucs at times this season and played in all four preseason games.
Futures contracts don’t actually go into effect until the first day of the new league year on March 9.
Lunsford kicked at Liberty University in Virginia, which competes in Division I-FCS’s Big South Conference, went undrafted this past spring. Aguayo was selected in the second round when the Bucs traded up to take him 59th overall.
Aguayo’s troubles started in the preseason and continued throughout much of the year. His 71-percent success rate on field goals (22 of 31) ranked him dead last among qualified place kickers, far from the dependability expected from a second-round pick. Aguayo did get back on track with his extra point kicking, making his last 19 in a row after missing two of his first 15 attempts.
Complaints weren’t limited to his accuracy, either. Aguayo’s leg strength came into question as Koetter rarely sent him out to try lengthy kicks. He attempted just one field goal from 50-plus yards – and missed it. From 40-49 yards, Aguayo was only 4 of 10, and his season-long kick was a 43-yarder he converted Week 1 in Atlanta.
Even with those rough numbers, it’s unlikely that Lunsford will unseat Aguayo. The move does reinforce the notion, however, that Aguayo’s high draft selection doesn’t shield him from competition.
Lunsford didn’t exactly post eye-popping numbers while kicking at Liberty. He converted just over half of his field goal attempts (13 of 24) as a senior in 2015. His collegiate claim-to-fame came in 2014 when he sent a game into overtime by drilling a 60-yarder. Lunsford also has a couple YouTube videos up of him hitting from 70-plus yards in practice situations.