When the Chicago Bears released undrafted rookie kicker Andy Phillips earlier in the preseason, it looked like kicker Connor Barth had the kicking job securely locked up.
While Barth is still the favorite to win the job, he now has some new competition.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed the second year kicker Roberto Aguayo on waivers a day after their preseason opener, and Bears general manager Ryan Pace was quick to pounce on the former second round pick.
The Buccaneers traded up in the second round to select Aguayo in the 2016 draft after he put together one of the most impressive college kicking careers in recent memory. The Florida State product converted on 88.5% of his 78 career field goal attempts and never missed an extra point. Leg strength did not appear to be an issue with him either, as he connected on multiple 50+ yard field goals, with a career long of 53 yards.
However, his collegiate success has not transferred to the NFL thus far. He missed nine of his 31 field goal attempts last season, and his 71% field goal percentage ranked dead last in the NFL among qualified kickers. Outside of 40 yards, he was a dreadful 4-11 and made no kicks further than 43 yards.
The fact that Tampa Bay had seen enough of Aguayo to waive the second round pick after just one season is telling, but his college tape is evidence that there is definitely an abundance of raw talent in his right leg. Because of that raw talent, there is no real downside in Ryan Pace bringing him to Bourbonnais. He’s the type of low risk, high reward signing that makes all the sense in the world for a rebuilding team.
If Aguayo can show that he just needed a change of scenery to tap into his natural ability, then Pace will look like a genius. If he continues to disappoint, the Bears can cut him loose with no financial strings attached.
The Bears also placed receiver Rueben Randle on injured reserve. Randle injured his hamstring during the Bears’ preseason loss to the Broncos.