The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released punter Michael Koenen, according to Greg Auman. Koenen's release was only a matter of time given his salary of $3.25 million and his bottom-of-the-league production last season, the culmination of a multi-year decline.
The Bucs originally signed Michael Koenen to a six-year, $19.5 million contract in 2011 as their only relevant free agency acquisition. That salary was based more on his ability to consistently produce touchbacks on kickoffs than his punting, where he's been mediocre-at-best throughout his tenure with Tampa Bay, and downright awful the last two years.
With Koenen gone, the Bucs will likely turn to Jacob Schum as their punter. Schum was signed last week and promptly hit an average of 51.3 yards per punt over four punts against the Cleveland Browns -- a much better result than that of any of the many, many punters the Bucs have had in town this year.
As for kickoffs, those might be handled by Schum but are more likely to be taken by newly traded-for kicker Kyle Brindza, who hit touchbacks on seven of his eight kickoffs this preseason. He's also been flawless on field goals, which cannot be said for either Connor Barth or Patrick Murray, neither of whom has the leg to consistently handle kickoffs.