Sometimes there’s a guy you see dropping down the board in the draft, and you’re thinking, “Surely, someone is going to take a flier on him, lock in the rights with a throwaway seventh round pick”. There was a guy that I saw in the draft this year that I figured would get some late-round attention, but once the final pick of the draft was made, he was there for the taking by any team.
Fortunately for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they managed to ink former Miami kicker Jose Borregales to a free agent deal.
Again, with kicking-needy teams out there, you’d think someone might have rolled the dice on the 2020 Lou Groza Award winner late in the draft. But the league’s loss could end up being the Bucs’ gain. The Bucs gave incumbent Ryan Succop a 3-year, $12 million deal this offseason after his 13-for-13 performance on field goals that helped propel the Bucs to Super Bowl champs. But Jason Licht is always looking for ways to improve a roster that, frankly, has looked hard to improve upon (still so crazy to write those words after so many years of sub-mediocrity). And, perhaps, he did that by adding Borregales.
Succop had some early struggles in camp, while Borregales has been nothing short of lights out.
— Joey Knight (@TBTimes_Bulls) August 16, 2021
If this were a true open competition, Borregales might even have it by a nose. But it’s impossible to discount what the Bucs have already invested in Succop. Succop’s current strong returns on the practice field are also likely enough to keep him as the starter, barring a total shank show down the stretch.
So, it’s all but academic that Licht will try to add Borregales to one of those 16 practice squad spots, as top-rate insurance in case the Bucs’ kicking jinx rears its ugly head.
But the question is: will he end up there? In order to land on the practice squad, he has to clear waivers, and that may be far from a sure thing with his strong showing lately. Even if he does, he’s free to sign with any team – so long as that team adds him to their 53-man roster. Teams can protect up to four practice squad players each game week from being poached by another team, but players can be signed after the games on Sunday and/or on Monday. So, even if the Bucs choose to protect him, he would still be free to sign with another team at a certain point.
In any event, given just how well he’s been performing, it may be hard for Licht to slip Borregales onto the practice squad and away from other teams if another team suffers an injury or a case of the yips from its kicker early on. Borregales has simply been too good to ignore. If another team ends up signing him, it could be a case of Succop starting off strong and the Bucs deciding not to protect Borregales.
Regardless, Borregales’ ultimate destination this year will be interesting to see play out.