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Kicker Connor Barth Might Get the Franchise Tag

The Buccaneers are considering using the franchise tag on kicker Connor Barth if a multi-year extension cannot be worked out before March 5th.

“We obviously like Conner Barth a lot,” Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik said on Saturday. “He’s done a good job for us since he’s been a Buccaneer. The truth is we think enough of him that he’s not going to be an unrestricted free agent. We’ll just figure out where that takes us from here.

“We are having discussions.”

Since joining the Buccaneers, Barth is 63-of-75 (84 percent) on field goal attempts, including a stellar 26-of-28 in 2011. Barth had just one touchback in 2010 and, despite the NFL moving the kickoff point up five yards, the club signed punter/kickoff specialist Michael Koenen to a six-year, $19.5 million contract.

Barth is likely seeking a contract that pays him between what New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski received ($3.4 million per year) and what Oakland Raiders kicker Sebastien Janikowski ($4 million per year). Gostkowski and Janikowski are the two highest-paid kickers in the league. Koenen ($3.25 million) ranks third among NFL punters.

The franchise tag for a kicker is projected to be worth around $2.7 million. Barth earned $1.835 million under the “Second Round” restricted free agent tender.

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