He's Back (Again): The Bears Re-Sign Punter Pat O'Donnell to a Two-Year Deal

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He’s Back (Again): The Bears Re-Sign Punter Pat O’Donnell to a Two-Year Deal

Chicago Bears

The Bears shouldn’t be punting too often in 2019. Not with a strong offensive line, healthy pass-catching targets, a backfield loaded with depth, Mitch Trubisky running the show and Matt Nagy calling the shots. But just in case the offense has an off day, at least the punter has a familiar face.

ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reports the Bears and Pat O’Donnell have come to an agreement on a two-year contract worth $4 million. The deal comes one year after O’Donnell signed what was essentially a one-year “prove it” deal that ultimately placed him in a punting competition (which he won!) with undrafted free agent rookie Ryan Winslow. The Bears could have gone down that road again, but decided to reward their long-time punter with a multi-year deal rather than search through the market for a replacement.

O’Donnell, who is one of the few remaining Phil Emery draft picks on the roster, was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded free-agent punter as this week started and graded out as being in the middle-of-the-pack at his position, per Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings. According to Gosselin’s special teams data, O’Donnell’s 28 punts inside-the-20 were tied for the 10th most in the league and his 39.7 yards per punt hovered around league average. Sure, the production could have been better. But it also could have been much worse.

Despite a solid (yet, unspectacular) season, one of the lasting memories Bears fans have of O’Donnell was his last punt – a 36-yarder that landed out of bonds and gave the Eagles great field position at their own 40 before their game-winning touchdown drive. To be clear, that punt wasn’t the reason the Bears lost on Wild-Card Weekend. HOWEVER, that’s a lasting memory no fan wants to be stuck with over a long offseason. But with O’Donnell back in the fold, he’ll have an opportunity to atone for his missed opportunity – unless the Bears offense scores so much it doesn’t need a punter.

Now, to fill that other kicking opening….

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.