The reward for Connor Barth’s best game as a Chicago Bears kicker is competition from outside the building.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports the Bears brought in Cairo Santos for a workout on Thursday. Biggs reports Santos was given a medical examination by the Bears, but it doesn’t look likely that the former Kansas City Chiefs kicker will leave Chicago with a contract offer. This isn’t the first time Santos’ name has been tied to the Bears, popping up on the rumor mill in October at the peak of Barth’s struggles.
Santos connected on 88.6 percent of his kicks in 2016 and on all three of his attempts in 2017 before being waived off injured reserve in September. His groin injury led to his release from the team, but Santos could still be a valuable asset for a team looking to upgrade its kicking game. It’s possible the Bears are a fit here despite Barth’s bounce-back performance against Green Bay.
Prior to his 3-for-3 outing against the Packers in which he made field goals from 45, 44, and 49 yards away, Barth had made just 63.6 percent of his field goal attempts. The three successful blasts from beyond 40 yards were a pleasant surprise from Barth, who was 5-for-9 (55.6%) on attempts between 40-49 yards since joining the Bears in 2016. Barth’s big game against the Packers moved his success rate with the Bears from 73.5 percent to 75.7 percent.
Perhaps the tide is turning for Barth, who earned a spot on Pro Football Focus’ Team of the Week for his efforts in Week 10. After all, he was the only kicker to make three field goals of 40+ yards on Sunday.
But if the Bears are thinking about the big picture, they’re on the right path looking at a kicker who will turn 26 later this month as a replacement for the 31-year-old Barth.