Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs sign Barth to four-year, $13.2 million contract
TAMPA - That casual conversation Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik had with kicker Connor Barth during Tuesday's workout apparently took on a more serious tone. Two days after Barth showed up to support his teammates during the first offseason practice, the team announced Thursday it signed him to a new four-year deal. "Words can't explain how blessed I am to know I will be in Tampa the next four years!'' Barth wrote on Twitter. "Thanks to everyone for their support.'' The contract is worth $13.2 million and includes $4 million in guaranteed money, according to Barth's agent, Rob Roche.Barth was given the team's franchise tag in March, guaranteeing him a one-year contract worth $2.6 million, the average of the league's five highest salaries at his position. Barth did not sign the offer and the sides continued to negotiate a longer contract. Barth is coming off his best season, one in which he made 26 of 28 field goals and all 23 extra point attempts. He finished second in the NFL with a 92.9 field percentage that also was the best single-season mark in franchise history. It raised his overall field goal percentage in three seasons with the Bucs to 84, the best in franchise history. "I want to continue to perform like I have and live up to their expectations,'' Barth said in a statement released by the team. "I want to thank everyone – the fans, everybody, the team behind me – and I'm looking forward to getting back on the field." Barth also kicked his way into the NFL record books last season when he became just the third kicker to make four or more 40-plus yard field goals in one half, hitting on tries of 50, 47, 46 and 44 yards in Week 13 against Carolina. A North Carolina product, Barth signed with the Bucs after being released by the Miami Dolphins in 2009. He finished the 2011 season by hitting 15 consecutive field goals, which remains the longest active streak in the NFL. Barth's 87.5 field-goal percentage (49-of-56) the past two seasons ranks fourth in the league over that span. "He has been a consistent guy, and I understand where his agent is coming from,'' Dominik said after chatting with Barth during the Bucs workout at One Buc Place on Tuesday. "But that's why we franchised him. "No. 1 was because of what he did on the field, but then there is who he is as a teammate. Just to be around the guys again and watch – I don't think there are many franchised guys that have ever done that.'' In addition to signing Barth, who has made 63-of-75 field goals and 71-of-71 PATs, the Bucs also signed receivers Wallace Wright, a veteran free agent, and Armahd Lewis, and undrafted free agent. Wright has played in 53 career games over four seasons, all with the New York Jets, but has not appeared in a game since he signed with the Panthers as a free agent in 2010. Lewis played at Central Washington University. To make room on the roster, Tampa Bay waived offensive tackle Mike Ingersoll and tight end Tyler Urban.
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