The Roberto Aguayo era in Tampa Bay ended Saturday, with the Buccaneers finally cutting the oft-ridiculed kicker they chose in the second round of the 2016 draft (after he missed his first extra point attempt of the preseason earlier this week). Aguayo was a big storyline for the team this offseason (on Hard Knocks, no less), especially with Tampa Bay bringing in former Jets’ kicker Nick Folk to compete with him.
But now, the Aguayo era has moved to Chicago; ESPN’s Field Yates reported Sunday that the Bears have picked him up on waivers.
Source: former Bucs K Robert Aguayo has been claimed by the Chicago Bears off of waivers.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) August 13, 2017
This move might actually work out well for both Aguayo and the Bears. Many of the criticisms of Aguayo were based mostly on how high the Buccaneers picked him, and that put a lot of pressure on him in Tampa Bay. His actual numbers last year (22 field goals on 31 attempts, 71 per cent) were far from good, but they trended upwards later in the season, and he came through in some big spots. And Aguayo might have been criticized locally just based on performing at that level, but his draft position made him a much bigger target.
Perhaps in Chicago, there will be a little bit less of that particular pressure on him; after all, the Bears acquired him for nothing rather than spending a second-round pick on him. So any value he does provide is a win for them. (However, Bears’ fans can certainly be critical too, and some may be looking for a new target now that Jay Cutler is gone.)
There is some reason to think that Aguayo may be able to bring something to the table for the Bears, too. After all, he was the most accurate kicker in NCAA history at Florida State, and while his ability to hit long field goals at the NFL level has been questioned (he made 18 of 20 from inside 40 yards last year, but just 4 of 10 from 40-49 and missed his single attempt from over 50 yards), he’s certainly been pretty good on shorter ones.
Kicking in Chicago’s wind is never easy, but Aguayo certainly showed off great accuracy at the NCAA level. And he’s still just 23, so if he can figure out how to be an accurate NFL kicker, he might be contributing to the Bears for a long while to come. But there’s always going to be somewhat of a microscope on Aguayo thanks to that draft position, and his first year-plus in the NFL has been far from great. We’ll see if he can turn it around in Chicago.
[Field Yates on Twitter]