TAMPA, Fla. — With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beginning cuts to reach the 53-man roster limit by late Saturday afternoon, they chose youth over experience in parting ways with veteran kicker Connor Barth.
Barth was one of three players released Friday, along with offensive lineman Jamon Meredith and defensive end Larry English. Barth, who played in 56 games with the Bucs from 2009 to 2012, made 91 of 110 field-goal attempts in his Tampa Bay career. His best year came in 2011, when he made 26 of 28 tries, a 92.9 percent success rate. The move means Tampa Bay is going with rookie kicker Patrick Murray, 23, a versatile undrafted free agent from Fordham who was 2 of 2 with his field-goal attempts in the preseason and averaged 45 yards on two punts.
Barth, 28, missed all of last season because of a torn Achilles in his right foot sustained during a charity basketball game in July 2013. He was expected to kick this season without lingering effects of the injury.
"Every year, there are difficult decisions that need to be made during this time of year as we get down to our 53-man roster," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said in a statement. "We appreciate everything Connor has done for the Buccaneers on and off the field over these past five years, but this decision was based on the best interests of our team moving forward."
Just want to say thanks to @TBBuccaneers and to all the fans and my teammates for the best 5 years of my life! It's been a hell of a ride!
Meanwhile, Meredith’s fall was noticeable. He started at right guard in the preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Aug. 8, but his time at the spot was short-lived. The sixth-year player was demoted from the job to backup tackle after quarterback Josh McCown was harassed in the Bucs’ loss, in part because of Meredith’s struggles.
In addition to the departures of Barth, Meredith and English, the 16th overall pick by the San Diego Chargers in 2009 who was trying to win a roster spot after being signed Aug. 14, the Bucs waived the following players: defensive back Marc Anthony, linebacker Nate Askew, tackle Edawn Coughman, cornerback Kip Edwards, defensive end T.J. Fatinikun, cornerback Anthony Gaitor, linebacker Ka’Lial Glaud, cornerback Keith Lewis, offensive lineman Andrew Miller, fullback Lonnie Pryor and offensive lineman Jeremiah Warren.
The Bucs’ roster stands at 61 players. They must make eight more cuts before 4 p.m. Saturday.