The move obviously wasn’t made to strengthen the roster for the 2020 season. The Patriots had already been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
This is about the 2021 campaign, and the signing figures to have an impact on both of the team’s current kickers.
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Who is Roberto Aguayo?
He was once considered about as can’t-miss of a prospect as a kicker can be coming out of college, but things went left pretty quickly for Aguayo. The 26-year-old was drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Florida State after a stellar run with the Seminoles.
Aguayo’s college career was fantastic. You could make the argument he was the greatest kicker in college football history–though you’d get some pushback from Louisiana fans who will remind you that Brett Baer is the most accurate to ever compete on the college gridiron.
However, in three years in Tallahassee, Aguayo made 69 of 78 field-goal attempts. That’s an 88.75% success rate, which is the fourth-highest in history.
Unfortunately, Aguayo struggled from the beginning with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before losing his job to Folk during the offseason before the 2017 campaign. Aguayo bounced around after being given opportunities with the Chicago Bears, Carolina Panthers, and Los Angeles Chargers, but he hasn’t kicked in the NFL since 2016. The Patriots are essentially giving him an opportunity to revitalize his career.
What Does This Signing Mean for Nick Folk?
Folk had a near-Pro-Bowl season.
At 36, he has converted a whopping 25 of 27 attempts, and that includes 2 of 3 from 50 yards or longer. Were it not for the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker, there is a chance Folk would have joined fellow Patriots special teamers Matthew Slater and Jake Bailey on the AFC squad.
Folk has beaten Aguayo out before and he’s certainly built some positive momentum with the team based on this season. Assuming he finishes the final two games of the year strong, you’d have to think the Patriots would at least be open to him returning in 2021.
However, Aguayo’s presence on the practice squad would provide a bit of insurance in case Folk has a down year in 2021.
What Does This Signing Mean for Justin Rohrwasser?
The rookie should be the one most worried by Aguayo’s signing.
It seems unlikely the Patriots will carry 2 kickers on their practice squad for long. At some point, a choice will be made in favor of one over the other.
Rohrwasser was taken in the fifth round of the draft back in April, but he hasn’t been able to make the active roster after losing out to Folk during training camp. The Patriots signing Aguayo is a bad sign that would seemingly imply they don’t have a great deal of confidence in Rohrwasser ever overtaking Folk.
Don’t be surprised if Rohrwasser is trying to latch on with another team next season as the Patriots may have seen enough from him already.
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