Connor Barth has experienced plenty of ups and downs as an NFL kicker during his eight-year career, most recently bouncing between two cities during training camp in 2015. While the Tampa Bay Bucs and Wilmington native each had a quiet end to a 6-10 season under Lovie Smith following a 38-10 setback to Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Barth should be optimistic about his upcoming free agency.
He made a strong case for at least an invite to next season’s camp in Tampa after getting signed to his former team for a second stint with the organization back in Week 5 to replace rookie Kyle Brindza.
Barth was successful on 23-of-28 attempts, including 3 for 5 on kicks of 50 yards or more. He tied Martin Gramatica for the most field goals of 50-plus yards by a Buccaneers kicker (15) on December 15 and hit all but one extra point attempt in 26 tries. Often times Barth was a key source of points under an offense led by rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, which finished 30th in the league in red zone touchdowns.
The life of a kicker has many twists and turns if you’re lucky enough to land one of the 32 jobs each NFL season, but Barth likely has stayed consistent enough throughout his career to get another chance to prove himself come next year. Despite his 82.1 percent accuracy this season, which was second lowest in his career, Barth is tenth on the active list for percentage of field goals made (84.7 percent), with a minimum of 100 attempts.
Follow Barth on Twitter @contbarth, as the 29-year-old Hoggard grad shows plenty of love for his alma mater (Carolina) during game days, with familiar sights popping up on his feed from time to time when he’s back home.