Long-time Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant took to Twitter to announce that the Falcons are going to release him after 10 years. Bryant, who was Tampa Bay’s kicker from 2005-2008 said this on Twitter:

The Falcons are moving on from the 43-year old Bryant due to his age. While in Atlanta, Bryant connected on 250-of-282 field goals at an 88.7 percent connect rate. He missed just three of his 375 attempted extra points with the Falcons.

Bryant made 20-of-21 field goals last year (95.2 percent) and hit 33-of-35 extra points (94.3 percent). He nailed a 57-yard field goal to increase the Falcons’ lead to 34-29 to finish off the Bucs in the fourth quarter in a home win for Atlanta earlier in the year, also nailing a 45-yarder in the victory. Bryant also made the game-winning 37-yard field goal to beat the Bucs at Tampa Bay in the 2018 season finale, 34-32, which was his final kick as a Falcon.

Would the Bucs be interested in a reunion with their former kicker and nemesis? Having former Falcons special teams coach Keith Armstrong on Bruce Arians’ coaching staff as Tampa Bay’s new special teams coordinator could certainly help make that happen if there is interest from both sides.

Tampa Bay has struggled mightily at the kicker position since Bryant was released after the 2008 season. Bryant made 83.1 percent of his field goals with the Bucs, including a career-long and team-record 62-yarder in a last-second win over Philadelphia in 2006, before moving on to Tampa Bay’s division rivals.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht has employed over half a dozen kickers in the last five years alone, including drafting Roberto Aguayo in the second round in 2016. After Aguayo and his replacement, veteran Nick Folk, failed in 2017, Licht turned to Patrick Murray to finish out the season before signing Chandler Catanzaro in 2018. Catanzaro suffered the same fate that Folk did, not making it through an entire season before being replaced by Cairo Santos to finish the year.

The Bucs are interested in bringing back the 27-year old Santos, who connected on 9-of-12 field goals (75 percent) and made all 17 of his extra points, but Bryant could be viewed as a short-term upgrade at the kicker position. Tampa Bay’s best option would be to sign both kickers and let a training camp competition decide the winner for the 2019 season.

 

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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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 protected]

26 COMMENTS

  1. Yes, let them compete

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  2. Can’t hurt. Indoors is much easier than outdoors, where the Bucs mostly play. Why not do this? Then again, it depends on how expensive he is against the salary cap as he is not going to be cheap at this point.

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  3. Yes. Maybe it will break the curse he put on us a decade ago.

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  4. This is the only way to break the curse. Close the circle, Jason Licht. Bring our boy home.

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    • You must’ve forgotten about Connor Barth. He closed a circle, then tore his achilles in a charity basketball game.

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  5. Good Lord please bring him back.

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  6. Bring him in, we got nothing at this point.

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  7. you can’t go home again – NO
    this is the equivalent of lovie’s hiring and will end just as lovie’s hiring did

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    • We let him go because of injury,

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  8. This curse thing is just so stupid and inane and anyone who repeats or believes it falls into the same category.
    Bryant was cut because he was injured and couldn’t play. End of story.
    He was also cut because he couldn’t get the ball into the End zone on kickoffs.
    I’m pretty sure he has the same problem and the Falcons had to employ two kickers eating up valuable roster space on game day.
    Coaches hate that.

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    • A lot of people don’t remember that Bryant also lost his son the season he was cut, he needed a fresh start.

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  9. I would love to bring back, but who is going to handle kick offs, he’s doesn’t seem to be able to put through the back of the end-zone consistently even when he was here.

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    • The punter can handle kickoffs, not that big of a deal

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  10. typical move. get him when hes on his last legs and no one else wants him. We blew it 10 years ago and we’ve paid for it. Top 10 stupidest moves in Buc History. Don’t add insult to injury and get a shell of the guy.

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    • That would be a great article for the PR gang and us fans who have endured so many over the past four decades. The “Top Ten Stupidest Moves”. Scubog’s # 1-Ignoring Bo Jackson’s warning. What a Draft pick haul that could have brought us. Instead….zooch.

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  11. Stick with Santos or draft a college kid in the 7th round.

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  12. We all should know a training camp/preseason game competition between kickers doesnt mean much. That position is pretty much all nerves. Look at the stats from regular season and end of game kicks. If Bryants healthy sign him. No competition needed. Weve seen competitions go to the loser at that position quite a bit anyway. They always say its about previous regular season kicks when that happens. It should be. Cmon back Bryant and end the Bryant curse!

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  13. The guy kicked a 62 yarder for us…
    Who cares if he eats up a roster spot… Bring him back and let Santos stay as well to do the kick offs and if one of them gets hurt or starts to suck you have your backup already… Are you really gonna care about the 53rd man next year if the kicks start missing left and right again?

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  14. Father time is undefeated. Vinatieri and Janikowski hit their proverbial wall last year and Bryant will too. We are hung up on what he used to be. Pass on Bryant

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  15. Vinatieri FG% was over 85% this past season, a percentage point better then his career average. He has not slowed down yet nor has Bryant.

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  16. Bryant was over 95% last season.

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  17. Santos was decent but doesn’t thrill me. They should bring in competition for him for sure but Why bring 43 year old in? We screwed up letting him go. He’s likely to get injured. Just doesn’t make sense to me really. He may have year or two left or maybe not. There is reason Falcons are moving on and not money related sounds like.

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  18. It has everything to do with money, the Falcons need cap space for Grady Jerrett & Julio. More cuts are coming.

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  19. To hell with competing – sign him now, best kicker we ever lost. We don’t sign him, we’ll lose 1-2 games watching him kick 55+ yard kicks with game on the line in the last minute. Absolutely, bring him competition, but if it is a rookie, no contest will mean ANYTHING. Get it right, for once on kickers, Licht !!

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  20. That’s a real dilemma given Matt’s advancing age. It would likely only be a short-term solution. In a year or two we’d be right back looking for another kicker……….again. Plus, who’s to say he would even be willing to return? Neither he nor Santos have the leg to kick-off deep, but to me that’s not a deal-breaker. Before resigning Bryant, I want to know who else is available.

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  21. What a class act. I was at Ray Jay when he hit a 60 yarder to beat the Eagles back in the day.

    I’d bring him in to compete for the job. Question I have is whether Santos can hit the long kick.

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