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Bucs Bring Back Kicker Cairo Santos

Cairo Santos, who handled the Bucs kicking duties for the second half of the 2018 season, has re-signed with the team on the cusp of free agency


Cairo Santos had seven games last season to show the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching staff what he could do. Even with that staff subsequently replaced by a new one, the veteran kicker did enough to get a longer look in 2019.

The Buccaneers re-signed Santos to a one-year deal on Tuesday, one day before the start of free agency. Santos, who first arrived in Tampa last November, was due to become an unrestricted free agent when the new league year began at 4:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The Buccaneers, who intend to foster competition for the job in 2019, currently have two placekickers on the roster, having also signed Danish kicker Phillip Andersen in February.

Santos took over the Buccaneers' kicking job near midseason after the relatively high-profile free agency signing of Chandler Catanzaro failed to work out. Over the final seven weeks of the season, Santos made nine of his 12 field goal attempts and all 17 PATs. He also handled kickoff duties, hitting 19 of his 36 kicks into the end zone and forcing 12 touchbacks.

Santos is looking to re-establish himself more firmly in the NFL after a very good three-year run in Kansas City to start his career. Originally an undrafted free agent out of Tulane, Santos beat out veteran Ryan Succop for the Chiefs' job in 2014 and went on to play in all 48 games for the next three seasons. In that span he made 86 of 102 field goal attempts and was good on seven tries from 50 yards or longer.

Santos played three more games for the Chiefs in 2017 but a groin injury then derailed his career in Kansas City. He played in two games that season for the Chicago Bears and then signed with the New York Jets in the following offseason. Though he did not win the Jets' job, Santos later filled in for an injured Greg Zuerlein for two games with the Los Angeles Rams last fall before joining the Buccaneers.

In all, Santos has played in 62 NFL games and has made 83.2% of his field goal attempts (104 of 125). Twelve of his 21 career misses have come on attempts of 50 yards or farther. Santos has also delivered on 96.1% of his extra point attempts (149 of 155) and is 36 for 37 over the last two years, spread across four teams.

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