Following missed kicks and ‘me’ appearance on ‘TODAY,’ Cody Parkey’s days with Bears appear numbered

Following missed kicks and ‘me’ appearance on ‘TODAY,’ Cody Parkey’s days with Bears appear numbered

While Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace didn’t explicitly say it on Monday, Cody Parkey’s days with the Bears are numbered, and it would come as a massive shock if the kicker were to still be with the team in eight months.
Nagy, who rarely levels criticism against his own players in press conference settings, was clearly not happy with Parkey’s appearance on “TODAY” last Friday, only five days after his infamous double-doink missed kick that knocked the Bears out of their first playoff appearance in eight years.
“For me, you understand that we always talk about a ‘we and not a me’ thing, and 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 was too much of a we thing.”
Nagy, as recently as Week 17, defended Parkey publicly. But the combination of too many missed kicks and being lobbed redemption-tour softballs on a morning show appears to have made Parkey’s return to the Bears untenable. Nagy said Parkey did not tell him during his exit interview of his plans to go on "TODAY."
General manager Ryan Pace stopped short of saying he’d release Parkey, but did acknowledge the Bears’ need to improve the kicking woes that’ve dogged this franchise for the last few years.
“That position is an emphasis for us,” Pace said. “We understand we need to get better, get more production out of that position. Matt talks about it all the time: There’s so much parity in our league, so many close games, the kicker position is critical. We know we need to get better there and it’ll be an area of focus.”
So the question all but becomes not if but when the Bears will part ways with Parkey, who signed a four-year, $15 million contract with $9 million guaranteed just 10 months ago.
Parkey’s contract makes the timing of the Bears releasing him somewhat tricky. According to Spotrac, if Parkey is cut before June 1, the Bears will lose $1.125 million in cap space; if he’s cut after June 1, the Bears won’t lose any cap space but also won’t net any savings.
The issue is the Bears enter the offseason with about $20 million in cap space and need to address the impending free agencies of right tackle Bobby Massie, slot corner Bryce Callahan and safety Adrian Amos.
Still, cutting Parkey before June 1 could send a message about the culture Nagy worked to build over the last year. It’s also hard to imagine Parkey showing up for OTAs, which begin in May, after Nagy’s comments on Monday.
When asked to clarify if he thought Parkey’s “TODAY” appearance was appropriate, Nagy reiterated: “I didn't think it was a we thing.”
Only two kickers have more guaranteed money in their contracts than the $9 million the Bears owe to Parkey — those being Baltimore’s Justin Tucker (89.7 percent field goal success rate, 9th) and New England’s Stephen Gostkowski (81.5 percent, 22nd). Parkey made 76.7 percent of his field goals, 30th in the league and third-worst among kickers with at least 30 attempts. Tucker and Gostkowski missed one PAT apiece, while Parkey missed three.
What Pace’s plan for addressing the kicker position will become clear in the coming months, be it through free agency or the draft. But Pace did say there will be competition no matter how he goes about fixing his team’s biggest weakness.
“He wishes that he would’ve made that last one,” Nagy said. “We had a (exit interview) good talk about it. We understand where I’m at in regards to, ‘Hey, you’re here to make those’ but at the same time, he didn’t want to miss it. He didn’t try it but he did. In the end, everyone talks — we’re all evaluated and judged on it and it’s about production and results.”

Bears not among 8 teams in attendance at Colin Kaepernick's workout

Bears not among 8 teams in attendance at Colin Kaepernick's workout

So much for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick throwing in front of 25 teams in a workout orchestrated by the NFL on Saturday in Atlanta.

Instead, he ran through a 40-minute session at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, and only eight teams were there: Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, and Tennessee Titans.

No Ryan Pace. No Bears.

The bizarre twists and turns in what was supposed to be a formal private workout for the one-time 49ers' star have been hard to keep up with. But one thing is certain: At this point in the regular season, it seems like an awfully distracting proposition to consider adding Kaepernick the Chicago's roster.

"I've been ready for three years,'' Kaepernick said, via ESPN. "I've been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here. [I] showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.

"We're out here. We're ready to play. We're ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk any team. I'll interview with any team at any time. I've been ready.''

The originally scheduled workout was derailed over Kaepernick's camp changing the language of the liability waiver players sign before participating in private workouts. They wanted the workout open to the media, too, something the league refused to allow.

"We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout," the NFL said in its statement Saturday. "He informed us of that decision at 2:30 pm today along with the public. Today's session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants -- an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout."

The NFL said the rewritten liability waiver provided by Kaepernick's representatives was "insufficient" and that although the league had agreed to allow Kaepernick's representatives on the field for the workout, it would remain mostly private. 

The disagreement over the workout's particulars isn't overly surprising. It was an odd situation to begin with considering the NFL was controlling the "who" and the "how" of the event. You can't fault Kaepernick for wanting some say in it all, especially since he's been waiting three years for the opportunity.

And even though he didn't get the chance to showcase his skills in front of as many teams as advertised, Kaepernick still made a positive impression on the field.

Where this all leads is anyone's guess. But it doesn't appear it will end in Chicago. 

How Tua Tagovailoa's injury will impact Bears' quarterback situation

How Tua Tagovailoa's injury will impact Bears' quarterback situation

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a devastating season-ending hip injury late in the first half of  Saturday's game against Mississippi State, one that likely marks the end of his career as a member of the Crimson Tide. 

Next stop: NFL.

"Tua Tagovailoa sustained a right hip dislocation that was immediately reduced at the stadium," Alabama Team Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Lyle Cain said in a statement following the game. "He is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment. He is expected to make a full recovery but will miss the remainder of the season."

As Dr, Lyle pointed out, Tagovailoa is expected to make a full recovery. His timetable to return is unknown, but it's at least a positive sign that his team of doctors is optimistic about his future.

The harsh reality, however, is that Tagovailoa's injury is going to have a significant impact on his 2020 NFL draft stock, which before Saturday seemed like a top-five lock. After suffering ankle injuries in back-to-back seasons and now a disastrous hip injury, teams selecting in the top 10 will be extremely careful before hinging the future of their franchise on a player with major medical red flags.

And while the Bears were never in the mix to draft Tagovailoa, they will be in the quarterback market this offseason assuming Mitch Trubisky continues to struggle down the stretch. Tagovailoa's injury will make it more difficult for Chicago to land a veteran free agent who prior to Saturday may not have been on a team like the Dolphins' wish list.

That's all changed now.

If Miami had planned for Tagovailoa to be 'the guy' in 2020, their objective in free agency would've been to sign a veteran who can serve as an extra coach in the meeting room rather than a threat for reps on the field. But with Tagovailoa's health now a huge question mark, the Dolphins may not have a choice but to add a player like Cam Newton or Marcus Mariota who can come in and start not only in 2020, but for the foreseeable future as well.

The Bears aren't going to find their 2020 starting quarterback in the draft. If it isn't Trubisky, it has to be a veteran who has a resume of production that can take advantage of a championship window because of the talent on defense. But the price has to be right, and even adding just one team into the free-agent bidding war can have a massive impact on whether Ryan Pace is able to land his guy at his price.

Remember: It's not just the Dolphins whose draft and free agency plans will be impacted by Tagovailoa's injury. Quarterback prospects like Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts and Georgia's Jake Fromm could get pushed up the draft board because they have cleaner medicals or because teams realize they can't assume next year's prospect pool will offer them the answer they're looking for.

Tagovailoa's injury proves there's no such thing as a long-term strategy in a sport where one play can completely derail the best-laid plans. The club that may be eyeing Clemson's Trevor Lawrence in 2021 could choose to snag Oregon's Justin Herbert instead simply because he's healthy and available.

As a result, a run on quarterbacks might occur before the Bears are ever on the clock. That, combined with the free-agent market getting more expensive, could turn one hip injury into another season of Trubisky or bust in 2020.

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