The Buccaneers have begun the process of cutting their roster down to the league-mandated total of 53 players, and the first surprising casualty has surfaced.
Veteran kicker Connor Barth, who was scheduled to make $3 million this year, has been released by the team after five seasons in Tampa Bay. He spent all of last year on injured reserve after suffering an achilles injury in a charity basketball game. Barth was a fan favorite here in Tampa, known for his accuracy. He’s hit 84.2% of his field goal attempts throughout his NFL career.
Last season, the Buccaneers replaced Barth with another NFL vet, Rian Lindell.
This year’s release of Barth means that the Bucs are going with rookie kicker Patrick Murray for the 2014 season. That is not expected to change, unless the team decides to target a replacement for Barth in the current pool of NFL free agents.