In the aftermath of former All-Pro kicker and longtime Bear Robbie Gould’s release yesterday, the Bears will sign K Connor Barth to replace him. The deal will be finalized today.
Barth has spent time with five different teams in the past, playing in regular season games for three of those clubs: the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (two stints). For his career, he is an 84.7% field goal kicker; for comparison’s sake, that is a tick below Gould’s career mark of 85.4%.
The majority of his career, and success, have come with the Bucs, where he currently sits at third all-time in made field goals (114), PATs (135), and points (447) and holds franchise records for highest field goal percentage (83.3%) and consecutive field goals made (25).
#Bears expected to sign K Connor Barth, who is 63 for 64 inside of 40 yards since 2010. Only miss was a block from 35 yards in 2012.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) September 5, 2016
The veteran kicker converted 23/28 (82.1%) of his field goals last year—again, for perspective, Gould made 33/39 (84.6%) of his kicks last season—but was released after the Bucs drafted Roberto Aguayo in the second round out of Florida State. From there, he went to New Orleans to compete with incumbent Kai Forbath for the starting job with the Saints and was subsequently released.
In addition to the Bears saving money to sign All-Pro guard Josh Sitton yesterday by cutting Gould—whether or not that was the primary motivation—Chicago essentially gets a very solid kicker at a bargain price.
— Spotrac (@spotrac) September 5, 2016
In fact, the only area in which Gould statistically beats out Barth is in field goals over 50 yards—Gould has made 23/31 (74.1%) while Barth has managed only 16/25 (64%). Everywhere else, including PAT%, Barth edges out Gould. This is a telling note, given that those two missed PATs last Thursday might have been the nail in the coffin for Gould’s career in the Windy City. They even have similar career-long field goals (Gould-58 yds; Barth-57 yds).
So chill out, Bears fans. Chicago might have lost the most prolific scorer in its franchise’s history, but there’s no reason to think that Barth won’t fill the void just fine. After all, the Bears found a lot of success with the last free agent kicker they signed back in 2005.
His name: Robbie Gould.