Buccaneers: How the Matt Gay situation affects Jason Licht

Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
Jason Licht, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

Jason Licht has put together two tremendous seasons as the Buccaneers’ general manager, but Matt Gay’s departure highlights a severe deficiency.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are poised to put together their best season since winning the Super Bowl, and part of that success is due to general manager Jason Licht.

Licht helped make the deal that brought Tom Brady to Tampa Bay, and without that free-agent signing, the Bucs would still be on the outside looking in at the teams in contention for the playoffs.

Although Licht has brought in several impressive free agents through his years at the helm and has put together two great draft classes, there are undoubtedly several egregious stains on the Licht era.

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In what may go down as the worst draft pick in franchise history, the Bucs traded back into the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft to take kicker Roberto Aguayo. This draft class was already historically bad for the Buccaneers, but Aguayo was just the icing on the cake.

After Aguayo was cut a short time later, it seemed as though the Bucs had learned from their mistake. Unfortunately, this was not the case.

Unable or unwilling to learn from his error, Licht drafted kicker Matt Gay in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. While Gay was marginally better than Aguayo, he did not meet the standard and was also released by the Buccaneers after just one year.

Jason Licht has now used valuable draft capital on kickers twice, and both times they have flamed out. Perhaps the kicking job in Tampa Bay is cursed, but drafting another kicker or special teams player should pose some serious questions about Jason Licht’s future in Tampa Bay.

No NFL team, under any circumstances, should ever draft a kicker, punter, or long snapper. The positions are too finicky to get an accurate reading in the pre-draft process, yet teams waste picks on these players every year to inconsistent success.

Jason Licht can’t make this mistake for the third time. No matter how well these next two seasons go, drafting a kicker was and will continue to be a horrible decision.

It is hard to say that the GM of a team in playoff contention should be on the hot seat, but making the same massive mistake twice in four years causes some alarm. Licht will be able to brush this mistake off quickly, especially if the team is successful this season. Still, the Bucs absolutely can not draft a kicker under any circumstances.

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