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' 2020 offseason dates you need to know

Bears' 2020 offseason dates you need to know

The Bears 2020 offseason feels like it's been underway for a while, but the reality is it's just getting started. The fun gets underway in March when unrestricted free agency kicks off, followed by the 2020 NFL Draft – when GM Ryan Pace will try to flip Chicago's two second-round picks into potential starters for a team that isn't that far away from contending for a Super Bowl.

Here are the key dates to bookmark in your calendar for the Bears' offseason:

February 2020

  • Feb. 24-March 1 – NFL Scouting Combine
  • Feb. 25 – Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy meet with media at NFL Combine

March 2020

  • Feb. 24 – March 1 – NFL Scouting Combine
  • March 18 – Free agency and new league year begins

April 2020

  • April 7 – Ed Block Courage Award presentation
  • April 20 – Bears may begin offseason workout programs
  • April 21 – Brian Piccolo Awards presented to rookie and veteran
  • April 21 – Ryan Pace will speak with the media ahead of NFL Draft
  • April 23-25 – 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas

May 2020

  • May 8-10 – Bears rookie minicamp at Halas Hall
  • May 16 – Bears Care Gala at Soldier Field
  • May 27 – May 29 – OTA practices

JUNE 2020

  • June 2-4 – OTA practices
  • June 8 – 11 – OTA practices
  • June 16-18 – Mandatory full-squad minicamp

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater expected to have a hefty price tag in free agency

The NFL offseason is gearing up this winter, with trade and salary rumors running rampant among analysts and fans. Bears GM Ryan Pace has his work cut out for him, with a decently sized to-do list before the 2020 season, including finding competition under center for QB Mitch Trubisky. From Tom Brady to Philip Rivers, there are plenty of quarterback options, but one player may be too expensive for the Bears.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reports Saints’ QB Teddy Bridgewater is expected to rake in big money in free agency. With a projected salary to the tune of $30 million per year, Bridgewater could land a lucrative deal.

It makes some sense Bridgewater could come with such a hefty price tag. He earned above-average rankings in adjusted yards per attempt (15th), QB Rating (11th), TD Rate (13th) and completion rate (6th) among 38 QBs to start at least five games in 2019. If Drew Brees decides to keep playing, the Saints will have to choose between Bridgewater and Taysom Hill as their backup.

Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer previously reported if Brees were to retire, the Saints viewed Hill as their new franchise quarterback, leaving Bridgewater free to explore other options.

It has yet to be seen how Brees and the Saints will proceed, but it’s certainly a reality check to see how expensive the QB market will be this offseason. 

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