Quick Saturday afternoon bullet post, as we get ready for tomorrow’s regular season, division-deciding finale.
- The Bears set off a Twitter frenzy by announcing a press conference yesterday afternoon; speculation ran wild, focused mainly on the possibility that the Bears and Jay Cutler had agreed to an extension. For awhile it seemed as though one of this offseason’s more compelling storylines might be wrapped up before the offseason even began. That wasn’t to be, sadly (or thankfully, depending on which side of that particular fence you live.) Instead, the Bears announced that Robbie Gould had signed an extension, which Pro Football Talk reports is for 4 years and $15 million, with $9 million in guaranteed money.
- This is good news. He’s a great player at his position, and though kicking numbers have improved across football, Gould puts up his numbers in what has to be a tough environment for kickers, dealing with wind, weather, and a sub-standard field. Despite those factors, he is currently the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. His new contract is one of the largest at his position; Sebastian Janikowski signed a 5-year, $19 million deal this past offseason, putting his average annual value slightly higher than Gould’s. (Gould got more guaranteed money, however. Ah, NFL contracts. Ceaselessly difficult to parse.)
- Of course, Gould was one of the most vocal players this past offseason, when he spoke out about how he’d approached the Bears for an extension, only to be rebuffed by Phil Emery. ESPN Chicago’s Michael C. Wright had a great breakdown of why the Bears would decided to make the move now, as opposed to this past summer.
- The Bears announced today that they have extended fullback Tony Fiammetta for two seasons. Fiammetta has only caught four passes this season, and he has zero rushing attempts. But he plays a dying position, and he serves as a lead blocker in Marc Trestman’s offense; apparently the Bears felt it would be too big a risk to replace what he gives them. I don’t have a problem with that. It’s hard to question the wisdom of keeping the offense together going forward, and I doubt this deal is sizable enough to impact their overall flexibility.
- Finally, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Packers have activated wide receiver Randall Cobb from injured reserve. That’s obviously a boost for them, but he’s been out since Week 6; it’s hard to know what exactly he’ll be able to do. Much like the Rodgers layoff, it’s a lot to ask for a player to come off a long layoff, step right in to what is essentially a playoff game and perform to their full potential. He’s listed as questionable to play, but I would be very surprised if he doesn’t give it a go. Otherwise why activate him at all?