Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

If necessary, Tampa Bay Buccaneers will franchise kicker Connor Barth

RECOMMENDED READING


INDIANAPOLIS — Bucs kicker Connor Barth was nearly automatic last season, connecting on 92.9 percent of his field goals, second-best in the NFL.

The only thing more accurate is the fact he won't play in another uniform next season.

The Bucs will not let Barth become an unrestricted free agent, general manager Mark Dominik said Saturday.

Barth, who made 26 of 28 field goals and all 23 of his extra points, is eligible for free agency March 13, but the Bucs are trying to sign him to a long-term deal. Failing an agreement, Dominik made it clear the team won't hesitate to use its franchise tag on Barth.

"We, obviously, like Connor Barth a lot," Dominik said from the scouting combine. "He's done a good job for us since he's been a Buccaneer.

"The truth is we think enough of him that he's not going to be an unrestricted free agent. We'll just figure out where that takes us from here."

If the Bucs franchise Barth, they must offer him a one-year deal worth about $2.65 million. Barth earned about $1.9 million in 2011.

The salary is based on a formula that factors in franchise tags over the past five years. If another team signs Barth, the Bucs receive two first-round picks.

Dominik would not comment on the negotiations, but it's believed Barth is seeking a contract similar to the five-year, $15.759 million deal signed by the Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski last season.

Gostkowski made 28 of 33 field goals during the regular season (84.8 percent) and was 5-for-5 in the playoffs. Barth is 83.9 percent (73-of-87) over his four-year career.

Barth has improved every season since signing with the Bucs midway through 2009.

Last season he did not have to perform kickoff duties after the team signed punter Michael Koenen.

Teams have until March 5 to designated a franchise player.

Dominik said the Bucs also are negotiating with the agent for guard/center Jeremy Zuttah, who can become an unrestricted free agent March 13. Zuttah played for new Bucs coach Greg Schiano at Rutgers.

"That's what brings Zuttah value to us," Dominik said. "That's why, again, we're going to try to get into good discussions here. Knowing his versatility is a big piece. Knowing he can be inside at guard or inside at center, that brings a lot of importance to us. Certainly his track record with Coach Schiano is a positive."

The Bucs current starting center, Jeff Faine, 30, is entering his 10th season and is scheduled to earn a base salary of $5.925 million.

Dominik said Schiano plans to meet with cornerback Ronde Barber following the combine to determine if he wants to return for a 16th season and how he believes he will fit into the new defensive scheme.

"The plan right now is to sit down with Ronde Barber and really talk about what Schiano's vision is for this football team and make sure that's understood by everybody," Dominik said.

It's almost certain the Bucs' other unrestricted free agents — including quarterback Josh Johnson, running back Earnest Graham, safety Sean Jones, cornerback Elbert Mack and Geno Hayes — will hit the open market.

Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected] View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow him on Twitter at @NFLStroud.

Comments
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Debunking some theories about why the Bucs are keeping Jameis Winston on the shelf

Debunking some theories about why the Bucs are keeping Jameis Winston on the shelf

TAMPA — The Bucs are sticking with Ryan Two and Oh Fitzpatrick at quarterback for Sunday’s game in Atlanta.But this isn’t a case of just riding the guy who has the cool head and hot hand.Doctors would not clear starter Jameis Winston to begin throwin...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Fennelly: Hope glimmering through the gloom of Bucs’ season

Fennelly: Hope glimmering through the gloom of Bucs’ season

ST. PETERSBURG — It isn’t easy avoiding The Jameis Winston mess.But it’s worth a try. If only to see some thin shafts of light.It’s worth considering that the 2017 Bucs, their death certificate already signed, have shown signs of life. Okay, near lif...
Updated: 2 hours ago
WR Bernard Reedy, cut by Bucs, signing to Patriots’ practice squad

WR Bernard Reedy, cut by Bucs, signing to Patriots’ practice squad

Former Lakewood star Bernard Reedy, waived by the Bucs on Friday, cleared waivers on Monday and will be signing on Tuesday to join the New England Patriots' practice squad.Reedy, 25, handled all the Bucs' punt and kickoff returns in the first nine ga...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs QB Jameis Winston not medically cleared to throw; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start again

Bucs QB Jameis Winston not medically cleared to throw; Ryan Fitzpatrick to start again

Doctors would not clear Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to begin throwing after an evaluation of his shoulder injury Monday and he could miss one or two more weeks.The Bucs have gone 2-0 under backup Ryan Fitzpatrick since Winston was shut down to gi...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Buccaneers-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

Buccaneers-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

On Sunday, the Buccaneers and Dolphins played one of those football games that gets only an obligatory mention at the end of highlight shows. In that spirit, this week’s Turning Point will focus mostly on the final three minutes of Tampa Bay’s 30-20 ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: One last look at Bucs-Dolphins

Cannon Fodder podcast: One last look at Bucs-Dolphins

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman looks back on Tampa Bay’s wild 30-20 win over the Dolphins, their second straight win and first on the road this season, the good and bad of that, plus a major off-field story now surrounding QB Jameis Winston. List...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and why this man is smiling

Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and why this man is smiling

The topic for the Times' set-up package  for Bucs-Dolphins in Sunday's editions was Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Admittedly, it's not James Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, but the two defensive linemen were taken back to back in the 2010 NFL Draft...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Trump calls out Marshawn Lynch, who sat for the U.S. national anthem but stood for Mexico’s

Trump calls out Marshawn Lynch, who sat for the U.S. national anthem but stood for Mexico’s

President Donald Trump on Monday added Marshawn Lynch to the list of sports figures he has criticized on Twitter.Lynch has been regularly sitting during the national anthem this season and did so again when his Oakland Raiders played the New England ...
Published: 11/20/17
Rick and Tom podcast: As Jameis Winston faces another accusation, Bucs win with Ryan Fitzpatrick

Rick and Tom podcast: As Jameis Winston faces another accusation, Bucs win with Ryan Fitzpatrick

The Bucs win again behind backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and a defense that creates five turnovers against the Dolphins. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the game, including the calm that Fitzpatrick has brought and ...
Published: 11/20/17