Connor Barth said missing a 46-yard game-tying field goal on Sunday wasn’t going to define him, but it turns out the misfire will define the end of his career with the Chicago Bears.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears will sign free agent kicker Cairo Santos in a move that will spell the end of Barth’s time in Chicago. The Chicago Bears have since confirmed the signing:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 20, 2017
Santos visited Chicago last week and participated in a tryout just four days after Barth had his best game since joining the Bears in September 2016. Barth nailed three field goals between 40 and 49 yards in a Week 10 loss against the Green Bay Packers and kicked well enough to earn a spot on Pro Football Focus’ All-Week Team. However, Barth’s overall production during his 26-game stint with the Bears was disappointing at best.
Barth made just 74.4 percent of his kicks in Chicago, which is the lowest percentage of any kicker who has played in at least 20 games since the start of the 2016 season. The player with the highest percentage? Well, that belongs to Robbie Gould – the kicker Barth replaced in Chicago before the 2016 season kicked off.
Santos, 26, made all three of his field goal attempts and each of his nine extra points in his first three games before a groin injury in Week 3 led to the Kansas City Chiefs cutting him earlier in the season for Harrison Butker. He was 31 of 35 (88.6 percent) on field goals in 2016 and has made 84.8 percent of his kicks since debuting with the Chiefs in 2014. It seems as if the Bears were just waiting to sign Santos, a player who was rumored to be on their radar since October. And if they want to retain him beyond the rest of the season, Biggs points out the team could opt to give him the franchise tag – which was at $4.835 million in 2017. It’s a big number, but the Bears are projected to have a ton of wiggle room as far as salary cap space is concerned.
And while it would have been difficult to part ways with Barth after he connected on all three of his kicks in a rivalry game, it doesn’t look like Chicago is wasting any time after his latest slip-up.