The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released Connor Barth, Rick Stroud reports. This release is a little surprising, but it makes a lot of sense. As we've been saying for months, Connor Barth was overpaid as a kicker. He was set to earn $3.15 million this season, while he doesn't have the leg strength to handle kickoffs. In terms of accuracy, he's been a slightly above average kicker since signing with the Bucs in 2009.
Understandably, the Bucs prefer to pay second-year kicker Patrick Murray $420,000 to handle field goal duties. Helping Murray's cause is the fact that he does have the leg strength to consistently boom kickoffs through the endzone, although Michael Koenen will presumably continue to handle that role. Murray was flawless in preseason and looked good in training camp, hitting on every kick he was asked to make.
Barth is a bit of a cult hero in Tampa after hitting multiple last-minute field goals to seal wins over his five seasons with the Bucs, and when injury replacement Rian Lindell missed two crucial kicks last year, the calls for Barth to come back healthy only got louder. Ultimately, paying a kicker $3.15 million when you can play another quality kicker $420,000 simply isn't a good value proposition.
The Bucs have now released 14 players, and need to cut eight more before the deadline tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. ET.