Addition of former Pro Bowl kicker Kaeding likely about depth
Former Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding is signing a one-year deal with the Bucs, giving the team a second kicker to compete with and spell Connor Barth during training camp.
Kaeding, former of the University of Iowa, told the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette, “I’m real excited. It’s a good division (the NFC South) for a kicker with two domes and good weather in Tampa.
“The market for kickers was lukewarm at best so I was kind of biding my time. This seemed like the best option going into camp. I think it’s a great fit.”
While Kaeding has a recognizable name from his past success with the Chargers, the odds of him beating out Barth appear slim. The Bucs gave Barth a four-year contract last year, and he is scheduled to earn $2.3 million in 2013.
But a challenger beating out an incumbent kicker in Tampa Bay wouldn’t be unprecedented. In 2009, the infamous battle between incumbent Matt Bryant and Mike Nugent ended with Bryant’s release and Nugent winning the job. Bryant’s preseason leg injury prevented him from kicking in preseason games, and the Bucs went with Nugent, who had performed well.
But that experiment ended disastrously. Nugent went into a funk, missing four of six attempts to start the season before Tampa Bay pulled the plug and released him.
That experience would seem to reduce the likelihood of the Bucs and general manager Mark Dominik going that route with Kaeding, despite his 86.2 percent career conversion rate.