Should the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lock up Connor Barth with a long-term deal?

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 4: Kicker Connor Barth #10 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers converts a field goal in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers December 4, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Barth converted four field goals in the first half. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Times played some connect-the-dots today, and suggested that kicker Connor Barth could be getting ready to sign a long-term deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This makes sense: the Bucs and Barth have been working on a long-term deal during the offseason, and the franchise tender was only offered to Barth after they couldn't close the deal before the draft. The fact that Barth is flying to Tampa today, but hasn't signed his tender yet could suggest a long-term deal is imminent, and getting a deal like that done is certainly the goal of both sides.

But is Barth really worth a long-term deal? I would suggest he is not, despite his excellent skills as a field-goal kicker over the yeas. Barth has been reliable both in clutch situations and over full seasons. While no kicker hits 100% of his field goals, Barth has come close and has improved each season. So, why would I not give Barth a long-term deal?

There are a few reasons for this. For one, he's of no use to the Bucs on kickoffs, an area where a lot of kickers are of added value. But Tampa Bay has punter Michael Koenen to handle the kickoffs, and Barth was never all that good at kickoffs anyway. Secondly, field goal kickers are not consistent from year to year. Kickers will lead the league in field goal percentage one year, then regress the next year. Paying a kicker for his performance as a field goal kicker is somewhat misguided, then. Third, it's relatively easy to find a competent field goal kicker on the street. Oh, sure, at times you'll find a stinker - but quality kickers hit the market very, very often. Remember last year's Pro Bowl kicker, David Akers? He was picked up off the street after the Eagles cut him. Simply put: kickers aren't worth investing a lot of money in, because they're easily replaced.

If the team pays what Barth is asking for - a reported $3 million per year or more - they're sinking around $6 million per year into their two specialists. That's nearly 5% of the total salary cap. The Bucs don't have to be especially careful with their salary cap yet as they still have a significant amount of cap room, but that will change at some point in the next few years. And when it does, these contracts won't look like good deals, they'll look like burdens.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bucs Nation

You must be a member of Bucs Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Nation. You should read them.

Join Bucs Nation

You must be a member of Bucs Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bucs Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker