Chicago Bears kick Barth to the curb, sign Cairo Santos
To no one's surprise, the Bears on Monday waived struggling kicker Connor Barth and signed Cairo Santos as his replacement.
Barth's departure was anticipated after he missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt with three seconds remaining on Sunday in a 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions that would have sent the game into overtime.
Santos, who turned 26 last week, connected on 84.8 percent of his career field goal attempts with the Chiefs, starting in 2014. He was waived injured (groin) on Sept. 30 by the Chiefs but is healthy now.
The Brazilian-born Santos was 3-for-3 on field goals and 12-for-12 on extra points this season before he was injured.
"I'm familiar with him because of ... when I was in Denver, he was at Kansas City (in 2014)," Bears coach John Fox said. "The reason he was available was due to injury. Getting him healthy from that was key for him and us. We were fortunate that he was available.
"He's been pretty accurate. He gets pretty good lift on the ball. His leg strength, he's developed, he has good hang time on his kickoffs. The key is he's an accomplished kicker in the National Football League."
Barth's miss against the Lion was his fifth this year in 16 attempts, a 68.8 success rate, which is fourth from the bottom among players with 10 or more attempts.
"He'd tell you the same thing -- it wasn't going great," Fox said of Barth, a 10-year veteran. "It just wasn't (Sunday's) kick. We haven't been in the red area a lot. It feels a little harder than normal. Before (Sunday) we were down there maybe 16 times, so those 4 misses, 5 (counting Sunday), you feel it. He sensed it, and he understands. It's never easy making those changes."
For his career, Barth was an 84.0 percent FG kicker heading into this season.
"We're a production-based business," Fox said after the game, declining to extend a vote of confidence. "Every time we go out there, we will do everything we can to put the best team we can out there."
The Bears are 29th in the league in FG percentage.
Barth was signed on Sept. 5, 2016 to replace Robbie Gould, the leading scorer in Bears history (1,207 points), who was waived just before the start of the season.
In Gould's last season with the Bears, he hit 33 of 39 FG attempts (84.6 percent). Since leaving, Gould has connected on 29 of 31 FG attempts (93.6 percent) for the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers, his current team.
Gould made 85.4 percent of his FG attempts in his 11 years with the Bears.