The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released veteran kicker Ryan Succop following three seasons with the team. Succop played a key role in the Buccaneers’ journey to winning the Super Bowl in the 2020-2021 season, but his performance was inconsistent throughout his tenure with the team. The move comes as a surprise to many, as Succop was signed to a three-year contract extension last year, but the Buccaneers have decided to move on and find a new kicker for the upcoming season.
Buccaneers Release Kicker Ryan Succop After Three Seasons
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially released kicker Ryan Succop, ending his three-season tenure with the team. The move was not unexpected, as Succop struggled with injuries and inconsistency throughout the 2021 season.
Succop’s Time with the Buccaneers
Succop signed with the Buccaneers as a free agent in 2019, following stints with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. He quickly became a reliable kicker for the team, connecting on 24 of 25 field goal attempts and all 33 extra point attempts in his first season with the Buccaneers.
However, Succop’s performance began to falter in the following season. He missed several important kicks, including a potential game-winning field goal against the Chicago Bears in Week 5. Nevertheless, the Buccaneers stuck with him and he ultimately helped them win Super Bowl LV, connecting on all four of his field goal attempts in the game.
Throughout the 2021 season, Succop struggled with injuries and inconsistency. He missed several games due to a groin injury and finished the season with a career-low field goal percentage of 74.1%. His struggles were particularly evident in the playoffs, where he missed two field goals in the team’s divisional round loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Buccaneers’ Options Going Forward
With Succop’s release, the Buccaneers will need to find a new kicker for the 2022 season. There are several options available in free agency and the draft, though the team’s approach to the position is uncertain.
One possible option is to sign a veteran kicker with a proven track record. Several experienced kickers are currently available in free agency, including Robbie Gould, Stephen Gostkowski, and Mason Crosby. Signing one of these players would provide the Buccaneers with a reliable option at the position, though it would likely come at a higher cost.
Another option is to draft a kicker in the later rounds of the upcoming NFL draft. While it is rare for teams to use draft picks on kickers, there have been several successful examples in recent years. Justin Tucker, who has established himself as one of the league’s top kickers with the Baltimore Ravens, was a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft.
Alternatively, the Buccaneers could look to sign an undrafted rookie kicker. While undrafted kickers are generally considered less reliable than veterans or drafted players, there have been several success stories in the past. Adam Vinatieri, one of the most successful kickers in NFL history, was undrafted out of college.
Succop’s Legacy with the Buccaneers
While Succop’s final season with the Buccaneers was disappointing, his overall contribution to the team should not be overlooked. He was a key member of the team that won Super Bowl LV, and his reliability in his first two seasons with the Buccaneers helped the team win important games.
Moreover, Succop was a solid presence in the community and a popular member of the team. He was nominated for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2020 for his charitable work, and his teammates spoke highly of him both on and off the field.
In light of his release, it is likely that Succop will find a new team for the 2022 season. He is a proven veteran kicker with a strong track record, and several teams could benefit from his experience and reliability. Ultimately, the Buccaneers’ decision to release him was a reflection of their desire to improve their performance at the position and move forward with a new kicker.