The New York Jets made the kind of move last week that usually draws an immediate response from astute Buccaneers fans eager to strengthen a glaring weakness in the Bucs lineup.
They cut kicker Nick Folk.
Ok, so we’re not talking Victor Cruz here. Still, you can bet that if it wasn’t already there, the Jets decision to cut Folk planted a seed inside the heads of the headmasters at One Buc Place.
Let’s face it, the Bucs kicking was at times, atrocious last year. Even for a rookie, Roberto Aguayo performed miserably, making just 22 of 31 field-goal tries, including just four of 10 between 40 and 49 yards out.
As a result, Aguayo finished the year with the worst field-goal percentage in the NFL (71-percent) and he never did find his comfort zone, missing two of his last three in the season finale.
This for a team that cannot afford to leave points on the field, which makes you wonder, if Aguayo weren’t a second-round draft pick, would he even be on the roster right now?
He probably wouldn’t be, and while we’re not suggesting the Bucs cut Aguayo, we are suggesting they bring some real competition to push him or replace him if he doesn’t show immediate signs of improvement.
The Bucs have made a token effort to do that, signing little-known first-year Liberty product Josh Lunsford, who was passed over in last year’s draft, but how much competition can Lunsford provide?
If the Bucs really want to push Aguayo and if they really do want to be prepared should he fail to respond to the competition and bounce back, they need to sign a tested veteran.
It doesn’t have to be Folk, though he might not be a bad option. Folk was pretty solid last year, hitting on 27 of 31 field goals (87.1-percent), including going 3-for-3 on kicks between 40-49 yards.
There are several other options, however. Robbie Gould is available. So is Connor Barth and Steven Hauschka. Any one of them would give the Bucs a chance to fix what could again be one of their biggest problems.
It’s often overlooked, but if you really get serious about it you could make the argument that the Bucs have a greater need for a kicker than they do a safety or a pass rusher.
They do after all have two starting caliber safeties in Keith Tandy and Bradley McDougald, though McDougald does have to be re-signed, and they have plenty of pass rush options.
Like a feature back and No. 2 wide receiver, though, they don’t have a lot of options at kicker. It’s pretty much Aguayo and hope for the best, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Just something to think about as free agency approaches.