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Chargers choose to go with Caleb Sturgis over Roberto Aguayo as their kicker

Chargers choose to go with Caleb Sturgis over Roberto Aguayo as their kicker
Caleb Sturgis will open the season as the Chargers' kicker. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

A year ago, the Chargers did the unexpected with their choice of kickers.

On Saturday, they made official a decision that seemed to be in place since the middle of March.

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Roberto Aguayo was among the team’s cuts to reach the roster limit of 53, giving the job to veteran Caleb Sturgis.

That move was among the highlights on a day when the Chargers also cut Spencer Pulley, their starting center in 2017, and Dylan Cantrell, their sixth-round draft pick in 2018, and kept quarterback Cardale Jones.

There is a possibility that the Chargers could add another tight end before opening the season and that tight end could be Antonio Gates. The latest roster moves left them with only Virgil Green and Sean Culkin at that position.

Entering his sixth year, Sturgis won a competition that appeared to be fairly even throughout the preseason.

He finished two for three on field goals and two for two on extra points, while Aguayo was three for three and six for six, respectively. Aguayo won the Chargers’ final exhibition Thursday with a 26-yard field goal as time expired.

Last year, the team selected unproven rookie Younghoe Koo over the more experienced Josh Lambo, who had been the Chargers’ kicker the previous two seasons.

After four uneven games, Koo was replaced by veteran Nick Novak, coach Anthony Lynn explaining that he decided to go “with a little more consistency and experience.”

The Chargers went that way from the start this time, Sturgis putting together two decent seasons with Miami and Philadelphia before a hip injury limited him to one game with the Eagles last year.

He signed a two-year contract — with $1 million guaranteed — with the Chargers in March, with the idea that, if he could prove himself to be healthy, he would be the team’s kicker.

In 30 games over the past three seasons, Sturgis made 56 of 66 field-goal tries and all but four of his extra-point attempts. With the Eagles, he was seven of 11 from 50 yards or farther.

Aguayo was a second-round pick of Tampa Bay in 2016 and kicked for the Buccaneers for one season.

Pulley lost his starting job when the Chargers signed veteran center Mike Pouncey in the offseason. They also drafted offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry from UCLA in the fifth round.

Pulley, who was originally an undrafted free agent, appeared in each of the Chargers’ 32 games during the past two years.

Cantrell was the lone 2018 draft pick to not make the initial 53-man roster. He missed the preseason because of a knee injury.

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Jones was thought to be a candidate to be cut had the Chargers decided to keep only one quarterback behind Philip Rivers. He and Geno Smith have been competing for the No. 2 job.

Lynn’s relationship with Jones goes back to when both were with the Buffalo Bills, the coach repeatedly praising Jones’ arm and potential.

Last season, the Chargers kept Jones as their third quarterback. He was active for only one game but did not play. His only NFL appearance came with the Bills in 2016.

Also notable among the Chargers’ moves Saturday was placing wide receiver Artavis Scott (ankle) on injured reserve. He appeared to have played his way onto the team before being hurt in the preseason finale. That opened a spot for undrafted rookie JJ Jones, who had only one catch in the preseason but did have a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The Chargers also kept both Detrez Newsome and Justin Jackson, a pair of rookie running backs who provide depth behind Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler.

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