Tampa Bay released Ryan Succop after three seasons, which means it’s time to look at some potential future Bucs kickers and where to find them.
A few different eras have come to an end this offseason in Tampa Bay, as the organization prepares to navigate a post-Tom Brady future.
Brady retired back in February, which essentially closed the book on the way the team was operating over the last three seasons. Without Brady, the team needed to confront a $55 million salary cap situation that meant making some tough decisions across the board.
Leonard Fournette and Cameron Brate were let go, Byron Leftwich was fired (although that was going to happen regardless of other moves), and pieces continue to be moved around the board. One era that quietly came to a close was that of the most consistent Bucs kicker this side of Matt Gay.
Ryan Succop was released, ending his three-year tenure with the team and creating yet another roster hole that must be filled this offseason. By cutting Succop, the Bucs saved $3.5 million, which is sizable considering the team had less than $1 million in cap space prior to the move.
Now the Buccaneers need to find a kicker, and there are a few different places the team can look.
Potential Bucs kickers for 2023 after cutting Ryan Succop
There are really only two places for the Bucs to look for a new kicker, it just depends on which road the team feels like going down.
Free agency is an option, although the pool is neither deep nor full of reliable legs. There are notable names available, but not a single kicker jumps out as someone Tampa Bay must sign or is a kicker that is an obvious upgrade.
Here’s a look at the notable free agent kickers who the Bucs could bring in now that Succop is out:
- Mason Crosby
- Robbie Gould
- Randy Bullock
- Brett Maher
- Eddy Pineiro
- Chase McLaughlin
- Zane Gonzalez
There’s not a lot to love out of that group, as the names might stick out but that’s about it.
Crosby is the most senior member of the free agency pool, but he’s gone through stretches of not being able to hit the broadside of a barn. Green Bay stuck with him through his struggles and he was able to weather each case of the yips as it came up, but it’s tough to see him providing much stability.
Robbie Gould comes the closest to feeling like an upgrade over Succop, but he’s going to be 41 years old when the season starts, and isn’t a long-term answer. He also could get priced out of the Bucs range, as he’s coming off a $7.2 million contract with the 49ers and might go for a bit more than what Tampa Bay is comfortable offering.
It’s likely that the team’s best bet for replacing Succop is in the NFL Draft. Michigan kicker Jake Moody sticks out as a target, who could be available as a seventh round flier, and checks a few boxes that are intriguing.
One thing that worked against Succop was his reliability outside of 50 yards. During his time with the Bucs Succop was 3-for-10 on kicks from that distance, which ended up being a much bigger deal last season thanks to an anemic offense. Moody, on the other hand, finished his career at Michigan with three kicks of 50 yards or more and could form a young special teams duo with Jake Camarda.
Moody would carry a cheap contract as a late-round rookie kicker, which seems to further make the case that Succop’s replacement will likely arrive after the draft in April and not in free agency leading up to it.