Bears will reportedly release Cody Parkey when new league year begins

Bears will reportedly release Cody Parkey when new league year begins

The biggest question regarding Cody Parkey wasn’t if he’d be released, but when. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the “when” will be at the beginning of the new league year on March 13.

Parkey will still be paid the $3.5 million in remaining guaranteed money on his contract. The Bears guaranteed Parkey $9 million in his four-year, $15 million deal signed last year, and will not net any cap savings by releasing Parkey. The Bears can use a June 1 designation on Parkey to release him on March 13 without costing them any cap space (without using that collectively bargained designation, the Bears would owe an additional $1.125 million against their 2019 cap). They’ll still have to shoulder Parkey’s dead cap figure of a little over $4 million, per Spotrac. 
The move will bring to end an ignominious, brief tenure in Chicago, in which Parkey missed 10 kicks during the regular season before his infamous double-doink that dealt the Bears a loss in their first playoff game in eight years. Murmurs began surfacing regarding Parkey’s reliability when he missed a long game-winning field goal in overtime against the Miami Dolphins (a game the Bears lost), then hit a fever pitch when he bizarrely hit the uprights four times against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field in November. 
A media circus quickly followed Parkey after that four-doink game, with helicopters from two news stations flying over Soldier Field while he practiced on a Wednesday night. Parkey did hit 10 of 12 field goals and 12 of 13 extra points after that brutal game against the Lions, but there was no coming back from the missed 43-yard field goal that knocked the Bears out of the playoffs. 
Parkey, too, didn’t help his cause by going on “TODAY” the Friday after that double-doink miss, with coach Matt Nagy sounding and looking annoyed with his kicker for that appearance. 
“We always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team,” Nagy said. “You know, I just -- I didn't necessarily think that that much too much of a ‘we’ thing.”
The Bears signed former Tulsa kicker Redford Jones to a reserve/future contract in January after bringing in several kickers for a tryout at Halas Hall. Cutting Parkey paves the way for the Bears to continue adding kickers in free agency, the draft and/or the undrafted free agent pool. 
Robbie Gould, who’s only missed three of 85 field goal attempts since being cut by the Bears before the 2016 season, is likely to have the franchise tag placed on him by the San Francisco 49ers, according to NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.

Sports Illustrated dubs Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota logical fits for Bears

Sports Illustrated dubs Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota logical fits for Bears

With so many veteran QBs available this off-season, its anybody’s guess where some of these big name play-callers will end up come fall. Sports Illustrated curated a list of which teams they deem as the best options for notable free agent veteran QBs. Since everyone in the NFL knows the Bears are looking for another QB to challenge the struggling Mitch Trubisky, it was no surprised that the Bears would appear on this list as a reasonable landing pad for some of these vets. The Bears came up as the best fit not once, but twice, for Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota.

Neither of these names are considered radical to Bears fans, who have heard speculations tossed around about how both players could fit on the offense at Soldier Field.

Once Drew Brees announced he would play another season in New Orleans, it was widely accepted that the Saints would resign restricted free agent Taysom Hill as their backup, leaving Bridgewater to find a new home in unrestricted free agency. SI describes Bridgewater as someone with “an incredible ability to spot start and also keep the peace behind the scenes. Bridgewater could be both a calming presence and legitimate competition for Mitchell Trubisky, who needs to be pushed heading into Year 4.”

However, a major downside for signing Bridgewater is that he has been speculated to command a starter-caliber salary in free agency. The Bears don't have a lot of cap space to work with this off-season, so this may hurt their chances at signing Bridgewater. 

Tennessee Titans’ Marcus Mariota seems to check off a lot of boxes Ryan Pace is looking for. He had a rough start to his offensive career, despite once high expectations, making him not overtly threatening to Trubisky. Mariota has 61 starts and a career record of 29-32 under his belt, completing under 63% of his of his 1,110-career pass attempts and has 76 touchdown passes to 44 interceptions. So, while his resume isn’t glowing, SI speculates he could fit well within Matt Nagy’s offensive system. 

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Bears' tight end overhaul begins with signing free agent Demetrius Harris

USA Today

Bears' tight end overhaul begins with signing free agent Demetrius Harris

The Bears’ efforts to upgrade their tight end room will begin with a familiar face to coach for Matt Nagy. 

Demetrius Harris, who played with the Cleveland Browns in 2019 but was with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2014-2018, agreed to terms with the Bears on Wednesday, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport: 

The 6-foot-7, 230 pound Harris does not come to Chicago with significant pass catching experience. He caught 15 passes for 149 yards for the Browns in 2019, and set career highs in 2017 with 18 receptions and 224 yards (while Nagy was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator). 

Based on what Harris did with the Chiefs in 2017, the Bears likely see him as a versatile backup who can primarily play the “Y” (in-line) tight end spot. The majority of Harris’ snaps (318) that year came in-line, per Pro Football Focus, while he also lined up in the slot and out wide 198 times. 

Harris, an athletic former basketball player at Wisconsin-Milwaukee, also comes to the Bears with good special teams experience. He played 299 special teams snaps for the Browns last year, 60th most in the NFL. 

The Browns signed Harris to a two-year, $6 million deal last offseason but cut him earlier this week. 

Signing Harris certainly will not be the only move the Bears make to overhaul a group of tight ends that severely hindered Nagy’s offense in 2019. The Bears could still use a true No. 1 “Y” tight end, while also improving their depth at the “U” behind Trey Burton, who landed on injured reserve and was never healthy last year. 

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