The Denver Broncos made a big splash by signing free agent All-Pro guard Evan Mathis on Tuesday. On Wednesday the ripples of that move were felt on the special teams unit as the team released kicker Connor Barth.

Barth had been in the middle of what most outside evaluators deemed to be a competitive situation between himself and Brandon McManus, whose job he took in November 2014 after McManus started the year 9-for-13 on field goal attempts. Barth was 15-for-16 to end the season and perfect on PATs.

In the preseason, Barth was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts with a long of 28, but had failed to deliver kickoffs through the end zone – a specialty of McManus who is 3-for-3 with a long of 52. All five of the Broncos’ field goals this preseason came in the opener at Seattle. Neither Barth nor McManus had missed a PAT in the preseason through two games.

The news that Barth had been cut broke while Dan Williams and Marcello Romano were live on Mile High Sports AM 1340, and Williams immediately came to Barth’s defense, worried that McManus has not developed the consistency needed to be the lone kicker on the roster. Romano, meanwhile, likened McManus to former Broncos kicker Matt Prater, who struggled early in his time in Denver. The fact that McManus was chomping at the bit last week to have a long-kick competition – nailing one from 70 yards in the process – sits well with Romano, who is ready to give the guy with the big leg a chance.

Williams likes Barth’s reliability, but Romano thinks Barth might already be suffering from leg fatigue, which would be a major concern this early in the season.

Denver has two weeks to determine whether or not McManus can find better consistency, otherwise they could find themselves again in the undesirable position of needing to carry two kickers – something Gary Kubiak has outwardly said he does not want to do.

Listen to the whole debate about the Broncos kickers in the podcast below…

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