Just because the Chicago Bears are pretty much set on special teams for the 2018 season doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.
The team allowed itself some wiggle room when it struck a deal with punter Pat O’Donnell on a one-year deal, leaving open the possibility of a training camp competition taking place this summer. After all, the salary cap hit the Bears would take for cutting O’Donnell would be minimal.
So if the Bears were willing to leave the door for change slightly open, then it might be possible just to open the whole thing altogether if the right situation came up, right?
That possibility could come in the form of Marquette King, who was released by the Oakland Raiders on Friday afternoon.
King, 29, was second-team All-Pro in 2016 and is someone the Bears’ new coaching staff should be quite familiar with King.
And all things considered, this could give the Bears a leg up when it comes to having the right insight regarding player evaluation and fit.
King has played 80 games in the AFC West, meaning Bears head coach Matt Nagy and special teams assistant Brock Olivo have had a first-hand look at King while on the opposing sideline while both were with the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition to being an assistant under Dave Toub in Kansas City, Olivo was the Denver Broncos’ special teams coordinator in 2017. It’s also likely that Chris Tabor has had a good look at the Raiders’ punter while he served as the Cleveland Browns’ special teams coordinator.
King has 426 punts under his belt and they have traveled a total of 19,941 yards, which makes for a pretty solid average of 46.8. He has also pinned opponents inside-the-20 156 times. He has finished in the top-10 in yards per punt in each of the last two seasons and three times since the start of 2013. King also has a player of AFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards from his efforts in Week 16 in 2015 and Week 7 in 2016.
Should the Bears be in search of a long-term solution at punter, King seems like an ideal target.