Bucs kicker Connor Barth was nearly automatic last season, connecting on 92.9 percent of his field goals, second-best in the NFL.
The only thing more accurate is the fact he won’t play in another uniform next season.
The Bucs will not let Barth become an unrestricted free agent, General Manager Mark Dominik said Saturday.
Barth, who made 26-of-28 field goals and all 23 of his extra points, is eligible for free agency March 13, but the Bucs are trying to sign him to a long-term deal. Failing an agreement, Dominik made it clear the team won’t hesitate to use its franchise tag on Barth.
”We, obviously, like Connor Barth a lot,” Dominik said from the scouting combine. ”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.”
If the Bucs franchise Barth, they must offer him a one-year deal worth about $2.65 million. Barth made about $1.9 million in 2011.
The salary is based on a formula that factors in franchise tags over the past five years. If another team signs Barth, the Bucs receive two first-round picks.
Dominik would not comment about the negotiations, but it’s believed Barth is seeking a contract similar to the five-year, $15.759 million deal signed by the Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski last season.
Gostkowski made 28-of-33 field goals during the regular season (84.8 percent) and was 5-for-5 in the playoffs. Barth is 83.9 percent (73-of-87) over his four-year career.
Barth has improved every season since signing with the Bucs midway through 2009.
Last season he did not have to perform kickoff duties after the team signed punter Michael Koenen.
Teams have until March 5 to designate a franchise player.
49ers mulling receivers
49ers General Manager Trent Baalke, who is loath to give away anything in terms of team strategy, admits his team is in the market for a receiver or three.
“When you only have two under contract for next year, it’s an area you have to address,” Baalke said at the NFL scouting combine.
Those two would be Michael Crabtree, who caught 72 passes for 874 yards and showed some progress in 2011 after being the No. 10 overall pick in the 2009 draft, and Kyle Williams, known more for his two costly fumbles in the NFC Championship game than for his role as a complementary receiver.
The pending unrestricted free agency of Ted Ginn Jr. and Josh Morgan isn’t the issue as much as production, as the group was exposed as deficient at the NFC Championship game.
With Crabtree’s one catch for three yards in the 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants still in the minds of much of the fan base, the question is whether the 49ers will use their first-round pick (No. 30 overall) on a wide receiver or address it in free agency.
The 49ers haven’t exactly distinguished themselves in the past 26 drafts since Bill Walsh selected Jerry Rice out of Mississippi Valley State at No. 16 overall, and it’s not considered a banner year for the position.
Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State, the consensus No. 1 player at the position, might not last through five picks.
After Blackmon, the top prospects have question marks. Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd has had issues with alcohol, most recently an arrest last year on drunken-driving charges. Kendall Wright of Baylor lacks size at 5-10, 195, and did much of his work between the hash marks in Baylor’s spread offense with quarterback Robert Griffin III.