Even though they have one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers on their active roster and a fifth-round rookie as depth on their practice squad, the New England Patriots decided to add another layer of depth at the position. According to a report by ESPN’s Field Yates, New England has signed veteran Roberto Aguayo to its practice squad after working him out earlier this week.
The Patriots had an open spot on their 16-man practice squad after moving defensive tackle Isaiah Mack to the Reserve/Covid-19 list on Friday.
Aguayo originally entered the NFL as a second-round draft choice by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016 — the first kicker picked that high since the New York Jets selected Mike Nugent in Round Two back in 2005. Despite his draft pedigree, however, he was slow to adapt to playing in the NFL and finished his rookie season with only 22 successful field goal kicks on 31 attempts (71%) as well as 32 extra points (of 34; 94.1%).
Tampa Bay decided to bring some competition in the following offseason, signing Nick Folk in free agency. Aguayo eventually lost his job to the veteran, and was released during the 2017 preseason. He was claimed off waivers by the Chicago Bears the next day, but let go again by the team after missing his lone field goal try during the exhibition portion of the schedule. He subsequently joined the Carolina Panthers’ practice squad.
In 2018, Aguayo signed with the Los Angeles Chargers but he again failed to find a permanent home — despite going 3-for-3 on field goals and 6-for-6 on extra points during the preseason. Since his release that September, Aguayo has been out of the league. He tried to make a comeback in the new XFL, but despite entering this year’s inaugural draft was not among the 560 players selected.
Now, New England is giving him another opportunity to salvage his pro career. As noted above, however, the 26-year-old is joining a comparatively crowded position group led by the aforementioned Nick Folk.
Folk has been one of the most reliable kickers in the league this season, having gone 25-for-27 on field goals and 26-for-28 on extra points. He will, however, become a free agent next spring and at age 36 may not be the long-term solution New England would like to have at the position. Justin Rohrwasser, meanwhile, remains on the practice squad despite New England selecting him in the fifth round of the draft earlier this year.
Aguayo will now get a chance to showcase his potential during the last week-plus of regular season practices.