The Denver Broncos have switched kickers again, waiving first-year pro Brandon McManus and signing Connor Barth, who hasn't kicked in an NFL game since 2012.
Barth, 28, won a competition with 38-year-old Jay Feely at the Broncos complex in suburban Denver on Tuesday.
The Broncos were in the market for a new kicker after McManus clanked a 33-yard field goal off the right upright in Denver's 39-36 win over Miami on Sunday. That came on the heels of a game in St. Louis where they passed up field goal attempts of 54 and 55 yards indoors.
McManus' longest field goal was from 44 yards, and he didn't really get the chance for a pressure kick for the AFC West-leading Broncos.
While solid on kickoffs, McManus was 9 for 13 on field goal attempts. His 69.2 percent conversion rate was dead last among NFL kickers, ranking ahead of only Nate Freese and Alex Henery, both of whom were released by Detroit earlier this season.
Barth, who spent four of his five seasons in Tampa Bay, has plenty of experience in crunch time, although not for a team with quite the Super Bowl aspirations of the Broncos, the story said. Barth has made 84 percent of his career field goal tries. He was the most accurate kicker in Buccaneers history but missed all of last season after tearing the Achilles tendon in his right foot during a charity basketball game. He returned this year but was beaten out by rookie Patrick Murray. The Broncos, of course, kept McManus over Matt Prater who was suspended the first four games of the season and is now with Detroit. Barth has a ton of fantasy potential for those looking to upgrade.
Kicker Matt Prater beat out Jay Feely and Connor Barth during a three-way kick-off Tuesday at the Lion's Allen Park headquarters, according to an ESPN report.
In eight seasons, the last seven with the Denver Broncos, Prater made 81.6 percent of his field goals. He went 25-26 last season, including an NFL record 64-yarder. For his career, he's 21 for 27 from 50 yards and beyond.
He was released by the Broncos last week, days before his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy was set to end.
Prater replaces Nate Freese and Alex Henery, who combined to go a league-worst 4-of-12 during the first five weeks of the season. Only one other team has more than two misses. Prater should be a very solid, weekly play as your fantasy kicker, especially with the Lions banged up on offense and possibly missing WR Calvin Johnson and RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell.
After three games with their rookie kicker, the Lions have seen enough.
Nate Freese, the seventh-round pick who has already missed four field goals this season and ranks dead last in the NFL in field goal accuracy, is on the way out. The Lions will sign Alex Henery to replace him, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The move comes as no surprise: Freese was already on very thin ice even before missing a 41-yard attempt at Ford Field on Sunday. Freese has been shockingly bad this year, going 3-for-7 with a long field goal of just 30 yards. The Lions use punter Sam Martin on kickoffs, so Freese wasn’t giving them anything there, either. Henery started off his career strong in Philly but missed short, key kicks last season and even in preseason of this year. Henery doesn't have a big leg and was often never trusted with longer kicks. He also struggled on kickoffs but may not have that responsibility with the Lions. Given how good the Lions offense can be, Henery should offer low-end K1 opportunities.
Sep 15, 2014 · 6:31 PM EDT
Detroit Lions rookie Nate Freese is focused on his kick, not whether he'll be still be on the roster by week's end.
Freese, a seventh-round draft pick out of Boston College, has missed three of his first five field goal attempts this season, including a pair of 49-yard efforts during the first half of the team's 24-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The Lions haven't tipped their hand, one way or the other, regarding Freese's job security following the performance, only saying all options were on the table.
With veterans potentially coming in to audition for his job this week, Freese is keeping blinders on. He's only focused on fixing the inconsistencies in his technique that have plagued him since training camp.