Robbie Gould was in Soldier Field watching as Chicago’s season ended on Cody Parkey’s double-doink against the Eagles. But the best kicker in Bears history could do nothing but watch as the 2018 season went up in smoke.
— Robbie Gould (@RobbieGould09) January 6, 2019
I don’t know if you know this, but an accurate kick would have sent Chicago to the second round of the NFL playoffs. 🙂
But even without a happy ending, perhaps this cloud has a silver lining.
In case you were unaware, Gould is scheduled to be a free agent, when the new league year opens up at 3 p.m. CT on March 13. And considering Parkey’s issues, Gould’s success, and the fact that the Bears pried open a window of contention that started this year, it would only make sense for him to be a person of interest. After all, if the Bears are going to kick the tires on a kicker from the open market, the top is the place to start.
But before we get there, let’s have a little history lesson: The Bears have used four kickers since parting ways with Gould before the start of the 2016 season. Connor Barth, Cairo Santos, Mike Nugent, and Parkey have combined to go 57 of 75 during that stretch, while Gould has made 82 of 85 kicks with the Giants and 49ers. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s a 72.2 percent success rate for Chicago’s kickers and 96.4 percent for Gould in the same time span. Oops.
Things ended on a sour note for Gould in Chicago, battling injuries that hindered him during a two-year stretch where he made 82.4 percent of his kicks – or more than 5 percentage points less than his career average. But Gould told the Chicago Tribune he used his time away wisely, re-discovering what made him great and improving his game. And the numbers bear it out. Good for you, Robbie. Want to come home now?
Gould signed a two-year deal worth $4 million in 2017 and figures to be in line for a raise this coming offseason. If the Bears were to enter the Gould sweepstakes, they’d have to part ways with Parkey in a move that would cost $5,187,500 in dead money, per OverTheCap.com’s data. A devil’s advocate would point out that it’d be more cost-effective to keep Parkey at $4,062,500, but that person might be be tied to the goal post in the north end zone for doing so (Michael: And that’s a dangerous place to be if Parkey is kicking (Sorry – I couldn’t resist)).
For what it’s worth, the NFL announced its salary cap projections in December and it looks like the team has some wiggle room under which it can operate.
News that Parkey’s missed kick was changed to a block isn’t going to make anyone feel better. Not you. Not me. Not Parkey. But if you want a glimmer of hope, you can probably guess that the likelihood of a reunion with Gould probably ticked up a bit. And I’m very much prepared to hold on to that dream while I can.
In the meantime, just grab a pillow and scream into it.