The New Orleans Saints have reportedly found some competition for Kai Forbath at kicker.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos kicker Connor Barth is on his way to New Orleans to sign with the Saints, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Barth, a seven-year veteran, was one of three kickers brought in to try out at the Saints’ rookie minicamp last weekend. Two days after the minicamp ended, New Orleans released longtime Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee, leaving an opening for a kicker.
New Orleans has traditionally taken two kickers to training camp to hold a one-on-one competition for the job.
“When we have a chance to get a guy who was in our division and has kicked well, it (gives us) a first-hand look,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said after the rookie minicamp. “We wouldn’t go to camp with three kickers.”
Barth, 30, has kicked for the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos, but he’s best known for his time in Tampa, playing from 2009-12, then spent five games as an injury replacement in Denver before returning to Tampa to replace Kyle Brindza for the final 12 games last season.
The Buccaneers drafted Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo in the second round at the end of April’s NFL draft, signaling the end of Barth’s time in Tampa Bay for the second time.
Barth has made 84.8 percent of his field goals in his career, and he’s been highly accurate inside the 40-yard line, making 80 of 84 kicks in his career. Barth has also made 43-of-55 kicks between 40 and 49 yards (78.2 percent) and 16-of-25 kicks (64 percent) beyond 50 yards.
Barth’s career long is 57 yards, and he’s made multiple field goals in the mid-50 range.
Forbath knocked through two game-winning kicks after signing with New Orleans in midseason last year, but the Saints also had trouble with blocked kicks, and Forbath finished the season making 9-of-13 kicks, the same number as the man he replaced, Zach Hocker.
New Orleans likes to use its rookie minicamp to identify competition at kicker. A year ago, the Saints signed Hocker after a minicamp tryout, and Barth looked good enough that the Saints decided to change up their plans.
“He has hit the ball out here well,” Payton said. “That is a position unlike some of the others, that is a little easier to evaluate.”