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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had enough of Matt Gay after one season, waiving him and making Ryan Succop their kicker for their season opener against the New Orleans Saints (per a report from NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo). The Buccaneers signed Succop earlier this week, indicating Gay’s status as the team’s kicker was in question. The team released Elliott Fry after a poor performance in the team’s scrimmage last Friday. 

Gay, a 2019 fifth-round pick of the Buccaneers, converted just 77.1% of his field goal attempts (27 of 35) in his rookie season and only 89.6% of his extra point attempts (43 of 48). His performance wasn’t much better in training camp, as ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported Gay missed a 50-plus yard field goal in the team’s scrimmage Friday. 

“We can’t miss extra points,” Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians said earlier in the week. “We can’t give away the easy points. Kicks inside the 30-yard line should be automatic.

“If you can hit a 56-yarder, that’s great. But when we drive the ball down to the 10 and miss a field goal, there’s nothing that tears a team more apart on offense than just, ‘Hey, we just took the ball down the field. We didn’t get any points.’ So the gimmes — who’s the most consistent? If you can do that and still kick 56, 57, now you’re All-Pro.”

Gay had a big leg as he hit five field goals over 50 yards last season, but was just 5-for-7 on field goal attempts between 30 and 39 yards. Add in the missed extra points (48 of 55) and the conversion rate was just 87.2%. 

Succop struggled for the Tennessee Titans last season after undergoing offseason knee surgery, hitting just 1 of 6 field goal attempts (16.6%) and none over 40 yards. The Titans placed Succop on injured reserve in December and released him in March. Succop has converted 82.2% of his field goal attempts in 11 seasons with the Titans and Kansas City Chiefs, including 93.8% of his extra point attempts (151 of 161) since the league moved the extra point attempt back in 2015. He only has converted 20 of 37 attempts (54.1%) from 50-plus yards in his career. 

The Buccaneers have a failed history of selecting kickers over the last five seasons, selecting Roberto Aguayo in the second round of the 2016 draft (No. 59 overall) and Gay (No. 145 overall) in the fifth round last year. Both players lasted just one season with the team, and they are the two highest drafted kickers since 2011. 

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