Do any of these free agent kickers make sense for the Bears?

Do any of these free agent kickers make sense for the Bears?

It's a little bit more official: the Bears and Cody Parkey are breaking up. 

When the new league year begins, Parkey and the Bears' conscious uncoupling will take place, and that, as they say, will be that. 

Where the Bears find their next guy is anyone's guess; picking one up in the later rounds of the draft seems plausible, though there's plenty of smart data out there arguing against it (especially when you only have 3 picks before the 7th round). 

So where does that leave the Bears? Who's going to be brought in to try and beat out Redford Jones? A few names to that are out there: 

Robbie Gould 

Never say never, but the reunion feels more unlikely with each passing day. Gould's flirtation with the Bears has been heavy-handed at times, and in a world where both sides are given the chance to talk, it feels like they'd have a deal done by lunch. With that said, that world probably doesn't exist, as all signs are pointing to the 49ers slapping the franchise tag on him. He's led the NFL in field goal percentage since his release from the Bears, so outside of the fan-favorite bend, they'd be getting one of the league's premier options at their roster's one true glaring hole. *MAYBE* Gould can posture his way out of San Francisco -- and his list of contractual demands seems to indicate he might be giving it a try -- but it's a pipe dream at this point. 

Matt Bryant

Matt Bryant is somehow 43 years old, so he's obviously not the longterm answer. He went 20-21 last year, including a 57-yarder, so it's not like his performance has dropped off either. Bryant's been converting at a 90 percent clip for his career when he's kicking indoors, and that drops to 83 percent when he's out in the elements.  Soldier Field's kicking conditions are infamously poor, and seemingly not the type of challenge that a 43-year-old guy who's spent the last decade kicking indoors for at least 9 games a year wants to undertake. He was only hitting 80% of his kicks during his two seasons with the Giants, a team with semi-comparable playing conditions. It's an intriguing pairing, sure, but how much interest would there really be on Bryant's end?

Jason Myers

Myers is an interesting case. He was objectively terrible during his first three years in Jacksonville, posting sub-80 percent seasons in 2016 and 2017. He fizzled out there before catching on with the Jets, where he put up Pro Bowl numbers last year. Myers perhaps priced himself out of Chicago because of that, and the Bears will surely be gunshy about handing out "big" money to a free agent kicker with inconsistent numbers. It's entirely possible that he really is the guy that hits 33 of 36 field goals -- including 10 of 12 from 50+ yards -- but it seems like the Bears aren't going to want to roll the dice and find out. Myers being 27 offers the Bears a bit more upside than Bryant (43) or Gould (37) might, but the aging curve of kickers in the NFL isn't that steep in the first place. 

Nick Folk

Folk was one of the first kickers the Bears worked out after double-doink, so he's at least on their radar. Folk hasn't played in an NFL game since 2017, when he appeared in four games for the Buccaneers. Currently, he's kicking in the newly formed Alliance of American Football, going 5-7 with a season-long of 53 yards with the Arizona Hotshots. Inconsistency has dogged Folk's career as well, though that comes with the territory when you're digging through the bargain bin. He took the job with the Hotshots the day after he worked out with the Bears, so it would seem on the surface that the Bears didn't love what they saw. It's possible that his AAF stint is to help shake off the rust, but it doesn't feel like a great fit. 

Nick Novak

Novak's also kicking in the AAF right now! His disastrous seven-game run with the Chargers in 2017 ended what had been a decent little 5-year run for Novak, one that saw him post above-average field goal rates in each season. He struggles with distance, hitting only 17 of 31 career field goals from 50+ yards. Hitting only 75% of his kicks between 40-49 yards doesn't look great, either. That said, he's a remarkably reliable kicker from anything less than that, which is not totally insignificant. Novak feels like more of a Plan B or C, but the Bears are going to have to accept the fact that anyone they bring in has real warts. 

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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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