Robbie Gould will all but certainly not return to Chicago, with the San Francisco 49ers deciding to place the franchise tag on the longtime kicker, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The move, which was expected, will keep Gould in San Francisco for a little over $5.1 million, per OverTheCap's franchise tag projections. Technically, the Bears could still work out a trade to acquire Gould, but that would likely cost more than with which Ryan Pace is willing to part. The 49ers are flush with cap space and, with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returning from a torn ACL this year, retaining a reilable kicker is a smart move for a team with playoff aspirations. Gould has hit 72 of 75 field goals since signing with the 49ers prior to the 2017 season.
The Bears will have plenty of options other than Gould moving forward. They're expected to release embattled kicker Cody Parkey at the beginning of the new league year on March 13, and could look to bring in both a free agent kicker and another through the draft (either with a pick or the undrafted free agent market).
Since the Bears released Gould prior to the 2016 season, he's made 82 of 85 field goals (96.5 percent). Bears kickers in that same span have made just 57 of 75 field goal attempts (76 percent).