The Buccaneers have made a change on their special teams unit, according to Rick Stroud and Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, who report (via Twitter) that the club has released veteran punter Michael Koenen. As a vested veteran, Koenen will avoid waivers and will become a free agent immediately.
The Bucs brought in multiple punters this offseason to challenge Koenen, and while Spencer Lanning didn’t make the cut, it appears the team likes what it has seen from newcomer Jacob Schum. Unless another move is forthcoming, Schum looks likely to open to the regular season as Tampa Bay’s punter.
Koenen, 33, had been set to earn a $3.25MM base salary in 2014 after ranking as just the 23rd-best and 24th-best punter in the NFL over the last two seasons, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). Because he had no prorated signing bonus money left on his deal, Koenen won’t leave any dead money on the Bucs’ books, so the team clears his entire $3.25MM cap charge for this year and for 2016.