Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik has made it clear that Connor Barth will re-sign with the team. Barth and the team are working on a long-term contract, but apparently the Bucs will use the franchise tag on the kicker if a contract can't be worked out before free agency hits.
Barth has been the Bucs' field goal kicker since 2009, and has steadily improved each year. He has hit 63 of 75 field goals in his career as a Buccaneer and has never missed an extra point try. Last season he missed just twice, connecting on 26 of 28 field goals. Barth has been clutch throughout his career, hitting game-winning kicks when asked to make them and routinely splitting the uprights from beyond 50 yards.
With Connor Barth to be retained, the Bucs do have a number of other free agents to take care, most notably Michael Bennett. The defensive end had a very good 2011 season and deserves a new contract. The restricted free agent can be retained by the team with a relatively small, one-year tender, however - although that would give other teams the option to pilfer the defensive end from the team for a price - presumably a second- or first-round pick, depending on the exact tender used.