The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed a third punter. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports the team has added Andrew Wilder, a 2014 undrafted free agent out of Northern Arizona. He joins Michael Koenen and Chase Tenpenny as the team's ball-high-in-the-air-kickers. The ones who kick balls while standing, that is.
New Bucs punter Andy Wilder ranked in top five in I-AA each of his last two years at Northern Arizona. 44.5 avg as senior, 46.3 as junior.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) March 20, 2015
Adding some competition for Michael Koenen is perfectly logical, of course. As good as he is on kickoffs, Koenen was the worst punter in the league in gross punting average, and the fourth-worst in net punting average. Some say this was strategy, or an injury, but this isn't new for Koenen -- he's been one of the worst punters in the NFL, statistically, for years now. The only thing that really kept him employed was his outstanding performance on kickoffs, and the fact that Connor Barth was terrible at those.
But now, the Bucs have a different field goal kicker in Patrick Murray. Someone who can actually handle kickoffs, making Michael Koenen and his ludicrous $3.25 million salary expendable. And with two punters, he's not likely to survive very long. But the Bucs can hang on to him all the way until the day before the regular season before cutting him, without owing him anything. So there's a decent chance they decide to do just that.