The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Franchise Tag: Connor Barth?

CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 10: Placekicker Connor Barth #10 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers connects on a 31-yard field goal with only five seconds on the clock to give the Buccaneers a 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 10, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Starting tomorrow and going through March 5th, NFL teams will be allowed to place franchise tags on impending free agents to keep them employed with the team for one more season. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a number of free agents, but few worthy of being re-signed, and even fewer worth of a franchise tag. In fact, only one such free agent comes to mind for me: placekicker Connor Barth.

The Bucs do have two other important free agents in Legarrette Blount and Michael Bennett, but neither player is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. In fact, Blount will be an exclusive rights free agent, which essentially means he cannot possibly leave the team and can be retained at a very small cost. Similarly, Bennett is a restricted free agent and his services can be retained with a relatively cheap tender of around $2,5 million. While another team could pilfer Bennett at the cost of a first-round pick, that's unlikely to happen. In addition, the Bucs aren't about to pay $10.6 million to retain Bennett's services by placing the franchise tag on him.

Connor Barth, on the other hand, is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent, and given his stellar performance as a field goal kicker the past three seasons the Bucs will undoubtedly want to retain him. They can do so by tagging him at the cost of around $2.5 million, according to Pro Football Talk. It's a cost-effective way of retaining Connor Barth for at least one more year, and it would serve as a placeholder while the two parties possibly work out a long-term deal. And, well, it's not like the Bucs have anyone else they can realistically use the franchise tag on.

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