When Brandon McManus missed a 33-yard field goal last Sunday, a relative chip-shot, it sealed his fate with the Denver Broncos. Mike Klis of the Denver Post is reporting that the team has waived McManus, after giving up a 7th round pick to acquire him from the New York Giants, and have agreed to terms with Connor Barth.
The decision to go all-in on McManus and cut Matt Prater might not be one of John Elway's finest moments, but it's tough to blame him, as the Broncos needed to free up room on the salary cap.
Prater hasn't exactly been exemplary in his time with the Detroit Lions. He has gone 12/16 on field goal attempts. Statistically, he is having the worst season of his career, so maybe Elway was prescient in seeing into the troubled kicker's future.
McManus went 9/13 on FG attempts in his time with the Broncos. He did have one of the best touchback percentages in the league, but with the thin Mile High air, Barth shouldn't have too hard of a time in forcing teams to start at their 20-yard line.
At 28 years old, Barth hasn't played since his 2012 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That year, he went 28/33 on FG attempts (84.8%). His absence from the game was due to the fact that he suffered an Achilles injury in July of 2013. The Bucs put him on injured reserve and eventually released him this past August.
The Broncos medical staff obviously feel confident in the state of Barth's health. He passed his physical, a prerequisite of signing with any NFL team. With Peyton Manning at quarterback, the Broncos haven't had to rely on a kicker too much, but as the team moves closer to December football and the playoffs, they aren't going to take any more chances on an inexperienced kicker knee-deep in a slump.
Before you get too excited, perhaps some measure of caution should be exercised by Broncos Country. The last couple of kicker transactions haven't worked out too well for the team.