The Bucs continued to solidify their special teams unit late in the evening on Tuesday as they are expected to re-sign place kicker Cairo Santos.
Santos was signed by the Bucs midseason in November of 2018 to take over as place kicker after the team cut a struggling Chandler Catanzaro. In seven games with the Bucs, Santos went 9 of 12 on field goal attempts and a perfect 17 of 17 on extra points.
He stepped in and played well at a position that has been considered cursed ever since Tampa Bay cut Matt Bryant back in 2009. Santos will continue to get a chance to defy the Bucs’ “kicker curse” in 2019 after a formidable, yet small sample size of play.
One proponent of his game that was not a strong suit was his kickoffs. Out of 36 kickoffs last season only 12 of them went for a touchback — and that 33 precent rate was not by design. But with new punter Bradley Pinion previously handling kickoffs in San Francisco, it looks like Pinion will take over that responsibility while Santos can focus primarily on extra points and field goals.
Santos began his career on the Chiefs in 2014 where he played until 2017, making 84.8% of his fields goals and 96.1% of his extra points. He was cut by Kansas City because of a groin injury and then had a brief stop with the Bears in 2017 and Jets in 2018 where he was again released because of a lingering groin issue. Santos got a chance to kick in two games for the Rams in October while Greg Zuerlein recovered from an injury, but was let go once Zurlein returned. This opened the door for the Bucs to sign him a month later.
The five year veteran earned the right to kick again for the Bucs in 2019 after a successful seven game audition. The Bucs do also have Danish kicker Philip Andersen on the roster, but the incumbent Santos is the odds on favorite.