Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace learned many lessons after cutting Robbie Gould prior to the 2016 season and from the decisions that’ve been made at the position since then. Indeed, he’s clearly taken whatever he can from the mostly negative experience and applying it to the team’s latest search for a kicker.
Here’s the latest:
Ryan Pace cites "leg strength" as important trait in PK evaluation, mentions the conditions in Chicago. #Bears
— Arthur Arkush (@ArthurArkush) February 27, 2019
Pace told reporters meeting him at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that leg strength was something the Bears were going to prioritize when evaluating and signing their next kicker. And while that isn’t a direct confession from Pace that the team made a miscalculation in signing Cody Parkey, it’s probably as close as we’ll get.
Remember, the knock on Parkey prior to Parkey signing with the Bears was a lack of experience from distance. After trying (and making) all four of his attempts from 50+ as a rookie in 2014, Parkey attempted just three field goals from 50 yards or deeper in the three years that followed. It’s worth noting that Parkey suffered a groin injury in 2015, which could provide a reason why there has been a decline in success (and attempts) from long range.
Pace expressed he and the front office enter the offseason with an open-minded approach to finding a new kicker. Pace has already added Redford Jones by way of a reserve/future contract, but that simply serves as the humble beginnings for the pursuit of Parkey’s replacement. The Bears GM said the team would explore all avenues to find a solution to the team’s kicking problems, including the draft and free agency – not that we would expect anything else.
Further, Pace hinted competition for the gig that could include as many as three kickers in camp. Most kicking showdowns are limited to two kickers. And while three makes for a crowded position group, the Bears aren’t in a position to turn away able-bodied kickers. Speaking of which, you can check out some of the options on our radar if you’re interested in who projects to be available on the market.
You can watch Pace’s press conference at the Combine in its entirety here:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) February 27, 2019