Connor Barth returned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' roster on Tuesday, but he didn't come alone.
The re-signing of Barth to handle the team's kicking duties headlined a long list of moves the Buccaneers made at the beginning of Week Five, many of them made necessary by injuries sustained in Week Four. Barth's return, of course, was precipitated by Monday's release of rookie kicker Kyle Brindza, who had struggled in the team's two previous losses.
Barth was one of three players added to the 53-man roster, with the other two promoted from Tampa Bay's own practice squad. Here's the rundown of Tuesday's roster maneuvers:
- Signed K Connor Barth to the active roster
- Promoted WR Donteea Dye to the active roster from the practice squad
- Promoted DE Howard Jones to the active roster from the practice squad
- Placed DE T.J. Fatinikun on injured reserve
- Signed T Reid Fragel to the practice squad
- Signed DE Josh Shirley to the practice squad
- Waived T Martin Wallace from the practice squad
All told, those moves added a third player to injured reserve, put the Bucs at capacity on the 53-man roster and left the 10-man practice squad with two open spots. The Buccaneers will likely take care of those three openings before hitting the practice field on Wednesday.
This is the second time during Barth's eight-year NFL career that he has arrived as an in-season replacement for the Buccaneers. In 2009, he came in at midseason after the team had already tried Mike Nugent and Shane Andrus, and he was an immediate hit. In just his second game with the Buccaneers, he connected from 50, 51 and 54 yards at Miami, becoming just the fourth kicker in NFL history with three field goals of 50 or more yards in the same game. Barth went on to make 14 of his 19 attempts, securing the Bucs' kicker job for the next season.
Barth remained in that role through 2012, in the process making 91 of 108 field goal tries and all 110 of his extra point attempts. His 84.3% field goal percentage during that span is the top career mark in Buccaneer history, and he also ranks fifth in team annals in field goals made and sixth in points scored (383). Just before the start of training camp in 2013, Barth suffered a torn Achilles tendon in a charity basketball game, pushing him to injured reserve. He competed for the Bucs job again in 2014 but the team elected to go with rookie Patrick Murray.
Barth finished the 2014 season on Denver's roster, making 15 of 16 field goal tries, but he was released in August as the Broncos elected to go with Brandon McManus. Tampa Bay quickly came calling, bringing Barth back for a brief competition with Murray and Brindza. Brindza won the job after making 55 and 57-yard field goals in the preseason finale at Miami.
Barth also kicked for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. He owns a career field goal percentage of 85.3% (116-136) and is perfect on 149 career extra point tries.
Dye (6-0, 190) was one of the rookie free agents the Buccaneers brought in after the 2015 NFL Draft. He played his college ball at Heidelberg, where he caught 116 passes for 2,298 yards and 26 touchdowns. Dye appeared in all four preseason games and caught seven passes for 82 yards. His promotion restores the Buccaneers' receiving corps to five players after fellow rookie and fellow undrafted free agent Adam Humphries was released on Monday.
Like Dye, Jones (6-4, 238) has been on the Bucs' 2015 practice squad since it was first formed in Week One. Also like Jones, he has small-school roots, having signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014 as an undrafted rookie out of Shepherd University. Jones spent his entire rookie season on the Steelers' practice squad then went to camp with Pittsburgh again this summer before being waived in the final cuts.
Fatinikun sustained a knee injury in the second half of Sunday's game against Carolina and will spend the rest of the season on injured reserve. He had just returned from a shoulder injury to appear in the Bucs' last two games, recording one tackle and two stops on special teams. Last year, his first in the NFL, Fatinikun played in 10 Buccaneer games and had eight tackles and a half-sack.
Josh Shirley (6-3, 234) signed with the Oakland Raiders in May as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV, where he played his final season of college ball. Shirley also played three seasons at Washington, recording 21.5 sacks. He was waived by the Raiders in the final round of roster cuts and then added to the practice squad, where he spent one week before being released on September 16.
Fragel has bounced between the Bucs' active roster and practice squad but has not appeared in any games since the preseason, when he made three starts at right tackle. He has also spent time on the active rosters in Cleveland and Atlanta but is still looking for his first regular-season game action. Wallace has had two separate stints on Tampa Bay's practice squad, last signing on September 22.