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Buccaneers sign third punter in Karl Schmitz

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed punter Karl Schmitzaccording to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Auman notes that the Bucs will carry Schmitz in addition to veterans Michael Koenen and Spencer Lanning, and will let the three fight for a starting job.

While Schmitz was waived by the Denver Broncos last week, he hasn't punted competitively since leaving college after the 2008 season, but he participated in a veteran combine this year to be signed by the Broncos.

The Bucs are set to pay Koenen $3.25 million this year, which ranks near the top of the league in punter salary. The team is understandably hesitant to actually pay him that money, given that Koenen has consistently ranked near the bottom of the league in punting stats over the past three years, hitting a low point last season after arguably the worst performance by a punter in the league.

What's saved Koenen's position so far is his expertise as a kickoff specialist, where he's confusingly been one of the best players in the NFL. If kicker Pat Murray can take over that role, the Bucs are free to let Lanning, Schmitz or someone else handle punting duties at less than a third of the cost of Koenen.