Connor Barth Cash Cut May Cost Bucs Wins

September 3rd, 2014
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Connor Barth’s release was all about the Benjamins, says eye-RAH! Kaufman.

When the Bucs decided to keep untested Patrick Murray over veteran  Connor Barth, it raised quite a few eyebrows among Bucs fans. Actually, it shouldn’t have.

As Joe noted in training camp, the Bucs had brought in a Pro Bowl kicker for a tryout. You don’t normally do that in training camp unless a coach or general manager is unhappy or unsettled on what the incumbent kicker is doing. Or isn’t doing.

So when the Bucs waved bye-bye to Barth, in the eyes of the “Custodian of Canton,” eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, Bucs coach Lovie Smith may also have been waving bye-bye to two wins.

In short, Kaufman has no confidence in unproven kickers on the NFL level. He bluntly stated the departure of Barth was nothing more than a cash move, so he told former Bucs defensive linemen Booger McFarland and Steve White during an appearance on WHFS-FM 98.7.

“Before Connor Barth ruptured his Achilles, gentlemen, I believe he was a top-10 kicker in this league,” Kaufman said. “Very, very reliable from middle-distance. His range had gotten a lot better. All of a sudden he was making 53-yarders. Look, there is no question about it, Booger. Anyone who has listened to Lovie Smith’s press conferences this year shouldn’t have been shocked. Anytime someone brought up Mike Koenen and Connor Barth, he threw in a little bit of an aside like, ‘Yeah, and they have the contracts to back them up, too.’

“[Lovie] was always making remarks about how much money those two were making. And you are right; it wasn’t anything like Murray outperformed Conner Barth. That wasn’t the case. If it was close; they were going with the younger, cheaper alternative. It’s a dangerous, a very dodgy move. Look, guys, we saw what happened with [Rian] Lindell. It was an emergency move, and he missed some good field goals. These little guys win you or lose you two games a year.

“If you are going to cut corners, that was a bad place to cut.”

Especially for a team that seems to be predicated on winning close games.

The Flat Earth Society of Bucs fans, those who naively believe a team can win without a quarterback jump up and down about how the Bucs defense can be great. When the Bucs have the ball, this crowd goes to the bathroom or stands in the beer line. What’s the use of offense when you have a solid defense, they say? Joe agrees the defense should be strong.

But a major part of that kind of defensive mentality is converting field goals. To the Flat Earth Society and their twisted math, field goals are more important than touchdowns and second only to a suffocating defense. So Lovie, being a defensive kind of a guy, is really taking a gamble with an untested kicker — and an unproven quarterback.

42 Responses to “Connor Barth Cash Cut May Cost Bucs Wins”

  1. MadMax Says:

    Saving for that big GMC contract ext.

    I hope Murray works out.

  2. kh Says:

    Connor Barth is far from irreplaceable

  3. Louis Friend Says:

    Sander and Leo did over at Bucsnation did a terrific job showing through data that there’s virtually zero drop off expected between Murray and Barth. No offense to Barth at all, but if there’s so little difference between two guys why would you pay millions more for the same thing?

    Anyway, who knows if Barth was really back to his old form?

  4. jwatts Says:

    I would say I understand this move based on get younger. But they have said time and again its about winning now in which case you are not trying to overhaul the team and get younger at the cost of wins now.

  5. Brian Says:

    With all due respect, what the hell does Ira or any other media-member know about “who won the job”? Each guy got a few attempts in preseason but you know that this battle took place on the practice fields. Where I highly doubt the media had their eyes on what the kickers were doing (I didn’t see many/any notes on them in the practice highlights here or at PR). Murray may have just flat out looked better. A little too much is being made about how good of a kicker Barth was pre-injury…he was good, not elite. So why was he making elite money? And how would any of us know if his overall game or range were affected by the injury or not? I liked Connor, but to say this is going to cost us 2 games is one hell of a blind overreaction.

  6. Buccfan37 Says:

    Murray better hit those kicks or all hell is going to break loose.

  7. bucsQcCity Says:

    Younger, healthier, cheaper and up to this point he’s as good as Barth during Preseason.

    I fully support Lovie and Licht ont that one. Front load GMC contract and give us breathing room for LVD contract next year

  8. Jon Says:

    I agree, he better make those kicks and hit the long ones as well. What’s the point of saving money if it costs you a couple games a season. That could make or break a season. I would have thought they could have saved money elsewhere. Maybe not signing the 4.5 sacks per season Johnson? Seriously, Barth will be missed, this guy Murray, 2 short field goals and congrats?

  9. Orca Says:

    So much focus on the risk angle… Maybe they felt they found a guy who could be a top kicker in this league… Why no commentary on that angle, Joe? Murray is younger and has a stronger leg and apparently showed a lot of consistency in training camp. If he outperformed Barth, how is it any difference than any other position on the team? Would be nice to see some focus on the potential upside of this move. I’m excited to see the young guy kick, though I am also a Barth fan.

  10. Orca Says:

    * different

  11. jo_mama Says:

    From the Fan perspective we want wins or ties. Anything but a loss.

    We dont care if we win by 1 or 50. Just dont want to leave the stadium knowing we lost.

    From Lovie’s perspective I don’t think he cares about this season.

    From Lovie’s perspective I think he only cares about the future.

    Last year we won or lost 6 games by 3 points or less.

    This is a game of inches.

    I hope I am wrong., but so far I have not been impressed with Lovies decison making skills.

  12. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Cutting Barth was a huge mistake. You know, the bucs treat their kickers pretty bad since the departure of Gramatica. Think about it. Have any of the kickers left on good terms?

    And we’re talking about what? 5 kickers since then? Roughly?

    It was hard to find a good one before, and I suspect Lovie and Licht did to the kicking position exactly what they did to the oline. They cut to save money and ended up regretting it.

    As a result, they had to spend a draft pick and spend the money anyway.

    They only thing, in the case of kicker, that can save them is if Murray turns out to be more than they have seen. Odds are against him, but hey, anything is possible.

  13. RastaMon Says:

    he kid is going to do just fine !

  14. getaclue Says:

    Key phrase sheep “before he ruptured his Achilles “

  15. Orca Says:


    What does it mean for a player to leave on good terms? Players get cut – that’s life in the NFL.

    They didn’t blow up the O-line to save money, and I think it’s only your interpretation that they now regret it.

    They didn’t cut Barth only because of money either. If Barth was clearly better than Murray, he would’ve kept his job.

    Complainers gonna complain.

  16. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Why second guess Lovie and Licht ? Right now, we are undefeated, and both of them know the importance of a good kicker.
    Do you REALLY think they would have cut Barth, if they did not believe the other guy could do just as well ?

  17. tampamac Says:

    How soon we forget.. The same conversation occurred when the Bucs let proven, reliable, 61 yard legged Matt Bryant walk for a young, unproven Connor Barth and that worked out ok for 4 seasons(minus last year’s injury).

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There can’t be anyone more upset than I am about the Barth cut….he is from my hometown, I know him and he was going to secure sidleline passes for me this year…..that being said, I understand the move.
    How does one “proove” themself if they are “untested”… about our QB who is “unproven”……..this is coming from someone who wanted an “unproven” rookie as our first round draft pick….

    Will Murray miss….sure….would Connor have missed also…..probably…..lets let Murry prove himself….

    Wasn’t GMC “unproven” at one point?

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    prove for all those typo Nazis…….

  20. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Orca, you are really lying to yourself.

    Have you not paid attention to the kicker issues. Heck, one even filed a lawsuit. If you don’t recognize the way kickers have been treated, you need to open your eyes wider.

    AND, if you think Barth is not much, much better than Murray, you are blind. It was ALL ABOUT MONEY. Everyone but you can see this.

    And the oline was all about money too. You must be the only one that doesn’t get that in all of Tampa. Our oline was overpaid. You are going to tell me that if they were making less some parts of the old online would not have remained?

    Don’t be silly.

  21. INDYbucsfan Says:

    I don’t know if anyone else paid attention to Murray’s kicks, but the kid can flat out blast the ball. I think he’s going to be better than Barth.

  22. BuccaneerBonzai Says:


    McCown at least earned the opportunity last year.

    McCoy made the most of opportunities between injuries during his first two years. He at least showed glimpses of greatness.

    Murray had opportunities before coming to Tampa. He did not take advantage of them and did not show himself to be great.

    I’m not saying he can’t become great. He might. But he could have been placed on the practice squad until we all knew for sure.

    I liken it to quiting a job before you get a new one lined up. Barth was cut before they knew they had a good replacement. Their evaluation was based on money and leg strength.

    Kicking for touchbacks is simple enough, but what happens when he has to make field goals? We don’t know.

    And, if you recall the training camp updates, few of them mentioned the kickers. If Murray stood out, we would have heard about it.

  23. Orca Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai Says:
    September 3rd, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    And the oline was all about money too. You must be the only one that doesn’t get that in all of Tampa. Our oline was overpaid. You are going to tell me that if they were making less some parts of the old online would not have remained?

    They were overpaid. And they SUCKED out loud! That’s why that line was blown up.

  24. Orca Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai Says:
    September 3rd, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Have you not paid attention to the kicker issues. Heck, one even filed a lawsuit. If you don’t recognize the way kickers have been treated, you need to open your eyes wider.

    Well, I guess you have a point on Tynes, and how Dom/Schiano categorized it a non-football illness, which probably takes a year off from his NFL pension or something. That was crappy, I’ll agree.

  25. buddha Says:

    Yes, of course money was involved. Light said from the beginning thsat his approach is VALUE. Paying Barth that outrageous sum doesn’t make sense when you’ve got McCoy, David, and a bunch more guys who will need to be paid and you’re looking ahead–the big picture–to being a player in Free Agency. Fact is that Lovie has said he believes one should spend all their money. Ridiculous to think Barth necessarily will cost two wins unless you believe that this new All American kicker will freeze. That we will find out soon enough.

  26. Orca Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai Says:
    September 3rd, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    AND, if you think Barth is not much, much better than Murray, you are blind. It was ALL ABOUT MONEY. Everyone but you can see this.

    I don’t think that’s clear at all. Murray has a stronger leg and can kick off too, though he may not be asked to do it. He can also serve as a punter in an emergency. And everything I read said that he performed as well or better than Barth in camp. And he happens to be younger and cheaper. So, I don’t see how you can be so certain of your position. I think it remains to be seen… Barth certainly had experience over Murray, but that’s about it. My point is that you act as if you know, as if there’s no doubt… the accusation seems to be that they chose an inferior player just because he’s cheaper. And I don’t think you can honestly make that assertion until you see how Murray performs.

    Personally, I think Lovie and Licht are about winning and make financial decisions in order to win. Most of the evidence suggests this… although if you want to insist on disagreeing with them, clearly you’ll continue to do that. I’ve seen no reason to distrust them so far.

  27. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Orca Says

    “They were overpaid.”


    I don’t have an issue with replacing the oline. My problem is that they just blew it up without having a real plan in place to fill the roles they emptied.

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Bonzai

    Everyone is unproven & untested at some point……all rookies are. That’s all I am saying… may take a missed kick/loss to mature Murray….will that be worth it……:????
    Like I said….I hate it…but understand it and I don’t think it was all about money or we would have dumped Koenen also because Murray can kick off…….big money/average punter is a Captain….
    We just don’t know everything the coaches/GM know….

  29. Orca Says:

    BuccaneerBonzai Says:
    September 3rd, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Orca, you are really lying to yourself.

    No, not really. I am reserving judgement until I see what happens in games. I do not claim to know more about the personnel on the team than L&L (unlike some on the board), so they get the benefit of the doubt until the results that matter are in.

    I might suggest that you have built up an entirely negative belief about the choices they’ve made, and you really have no actual or concrete basis for any of your interpretations. That’s certainly more akin to lying than simply reserving judgement.

    I see all these posts from people who can be reliably counted on to complain about nearly every decision these guys make. Meanwhile, L&L have acted in good faith, doing tons of work, obviously with the intent of improving the team in the short and long term. Their record is 0-0, so it seems your negative mindframe precedes evidence, and in fact flies in the face of all the obvious efforts we’ve seen from the Bucs new power structure. I see decisions geared only towards winning.

  30. WobbleBuc Says:

    Practice and preseason FGs are much different than regular season game winning FGs. Sure, he kicked a couple of FGs in the preseason and probably had some great practice FGs with no pressure at all. Barth was proven and every time they sent him on the field I was confident in getting those 3 points. He missed from time to time but you could tell he was always pissed about it because he wants to be the best. I’m not knocking Murray as I don’t know what we have with him but that first time he lines up for a distance kick or a kick with a lot of pressure I am going to be nervous. He could change all of our minds but he hasn’t had the chance yet. I was shocked at the change and I’m willing to give it a chance. This will be on L&L one way of the other.

  31. Love and Warrick Dunn Says:

    Where were you guys in the start of September 2009? Hope you were also complaining about Dominik and Morris.

    I will give these guys a chance. They had a heck of a 5 year mess to clean up after.

  32. Mattress Mike Says:

    Murray also punts pretty good. We could have let him do double duty and had money for Boone! We would be beastly on the oline!

  33. Cobraboy Says:

    It is absurd to say Murray will cause 2 losses before he’s ever kicked in one game.

    To say there is no pressure in practice kicking, when your career and paycheck hangs on every kick every bit as much as an actual game, is ridiculous.

    I understand Murray was every bit as good, if not better, than Barth all through camp.

  34. Soggybottom Says:

    I believe murray must have won the battle and it has more to do than just the money, L&L Butts are on the line here too, They look at it from all angles Health, Ability and money and and and etc.. L&L have been doing what is best for the bucs they know all eyes are on them… Just like anything there are risks involved like what risk there would be by keeping barth and then injury hits again or.. or.. or.. Everything is a risk.. We have a great coach and bucs organization.. So Whats that old song = Don’t worry be happy.. I think murray has a stronger leg and may hit further field goals.. Ya baby Go Bucs..

  35. Cobraboy Says:

    I can speak from experience that the pressure a rookie feels in training camp in do-or-die scrimmages is every bit the pressure as even the first game.

    At least in the first game you feel “I’m here” and the pressure, to a degree, is reduced, because you have the confidence that comes with the knowledge the coaches have confidence in you.

    In watching Murray’s interviews, I get the impression this is one driven, solid, confident, tough-minded guy…

  36. Snook Says:

    Its not all about the Benjamins. Its about value. If Murray can do what Barth can do and at a fraction of the cost, that’s called value.

    Sign a cheap kicker and people complain about it costing us wins.
    Keep the expensive kicker and people complain about spending so much on a kicker.

    Can’t make anyone happy around here…

  37. mpmalloy Says:

    Malloy agrees with his old-buddy Cobraboy
    in that the kvetching about Barth is misguided at best.
    Some of you yahoos are saying the loss of Barth = 2 losses?
    What differential equation did you solve to come up with those numbers.

  38. KMAC1322 Says:

    We arguing about kickers? KICKERS!? They are who we thought they were, kickers!! They are a dime a dozen! Yes there are a few that are elite and who are worth keeping but we are talking about Connor Barth….He only had 1 season with the BUCS of making over 90% of his attempts, which made him a top 10 kicker, the other years he was mediocre at best, yes he had some winning kicks but 9/10 nfl kickers would have made those kicks. Plus he is coming off of an injury and the coaches, who have been at every practice and watching the kickers, feel Murray is just as good, GREAT MOVE BUCS!! stop bitching just to bitch!

  39. Joe Says:

    From Lovie’s perspective I don’t think he cares about this season.

    Don’t think that’s accurate but understand where you are coming from. Sometimes, takes a while to get things humming. Build for the future.

  40. pick6 Says:

    connor barth was the exact same guy before he established himself as our kicker. he was the nobody that the bucs were shoving matt bryant out of town for. most kickers start out as some guy who pushed a player with a recognized name off the team and save the GM a couple bucks in the process

  41. Matt B Says:

    Why do people think Barth replaced Matt Bryant? That’s simply not true. Mike Nugent repaced Bryant. He missed everything and was quickly replaced. Barth was like the third kicker we tried that season.

    I agree 100% with Ira. This was all about the money, or value, whatever you want to call it. Barth is a stud from 50 plus. I don’t buy this coming off injury stuff negatively affecting his play. I would feel a lot more comfortable with the proven player.

  42. caradoc Says:

    Barth is a stud?

    So was Grammatica.

    Then he wasn’t.