By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — Connor Barth’s missed field goal in the final seconds of a loss Sunday was the last straw of his Bears tenure.
The Bears have made a change at kicker, signing Cairo Santos to a one-year deal and waiving Barth, they announced Monday. The Tribune’s Brad Biggs first reported the news.
The Bears had Santos in for a workout last week, and Barth’s 11-of-16 conversion rate on field goals this season has led to his dismissal. Barth joined the Bears in 2016 after the team’s surprising decision to release Robbie Gould, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. Barth hit on 18 of 23 field goals in 2016.
“He’d tell you the same thing — it wasn’t going great,” Bears coach John Fox said of the decision on Monday. “It just wasn’t yesterday’s kick. We haven’t been in the red area a lot. It feels a little harder than normal. Before yesterday he was like, I don’t know, we were down there maybe 16 times, so those four misses, five yesterday, you feel it. He sensed it and he understands. It’s never easy making those changes.”
Barth’s final kick with the Bears was probably his worst. After Mitchell Trubisky moved the Bears into field-goal range, Barth badly pushed a 46-yard attempt wide right in the final seconds of a 27-24 loss to the Lions at Soldier Field. The loss dropped Chicago to 3-7.
Santos, 26, was waived by the Chiefs in late September as he dealt with a groin injury. He was 3-of-3 on field goals for Kansas City before losing his job. He was 31-of-35 (88.6 percent) on field goals in 2016 and has a career 84.8 percent field-goal percentage.
“The reason he was available was due to injury,” Fox said of Santos. “Getting him healthy from that I think was key for him and us. We were fortunate that he was available. That’s why we signed him.
“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. I’d say the key is he’s an accomplished kicker in the National Football League.”