While there has been a focus on changes coming to the offensive side of the ball, the Chicago Bears’ special teams unit is getting an offseason tear-down and rebuild of its own.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants are kicking the tires on Bears free agent punter Pat O’Donnell.
O’Donnell was a sixth-round pick of the Bears in 2014 who was selected by former GM Phil Emery. The 2017 season was a banner year for O’Donnell, who set career highs in punts (87), total yards (4,087), and average (47.0). He also showed off his quarterbacking skills with a touchdown pass to Benny Cunningham on a trick play. Since Kevin Huber and Dustin Colquitt have re-signed with the Bengals and Chiefs respectively, O’Donnell is arguably the best punter on the free agent market.
How the Bears feel about O’Donnell is unknown. The team was reportedly showing an interest in Bengals punter Kevin Huber, but he re-signed with the Bengals on Wednesday afternoon. New Bears Special Teams Coordinator Chris Tabor had a good look at Huber while coaching against him while he was running the Browns’ special teams. Perhaps Bears GM Ryan Pace will continue to lean on Huber’s eye when it comes to big special teams decisions, especially considering the team signed kicker Cody Parkey, who worked with Tabor in Cleveland.
The Eagles in the hunt for a new punter to replace Donnie Jones, who retired after the team’s Super Bowl-winning season. The Giants released punter Brad Wing earlier in the offseason. Wing led the NFL with 95 punts, but two were blocked – which also led the league.