We’ve been hoping the Bears would bring back their best and most valuable parts of the point-scoring process for quite some time.
… but I might not have guessed the kicker would’ve been getting the first getting the hefty extension:
After a record-setting season, #Bears have agreed to terms with K Cairo Santos on a $16M, 5-year contract with a max value of $17.5M.
Final 2 years of deal are voidable so it's really a $9M, 3-year deal with max value of $11M.
No more kicker carousel.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) March 12, 2021
UPDATE: It’s officially official:
Brad Biggs of the Tribune reports the Bears are signing kicker Cairo Santos to a five-year contract. It’s a deal worth up to $17.5 million, though there are some details that are probably designed to help with the cap situation. Essentially, Santos’ new deal boils down to a three-year deal worth $9 to $11 million. Chicago needs all sorts of creative bookkeeping considering its needs at positions elsewhere.
At a $3+ million AAV, Santos’ deal pays him right in the middle-of-the-pack among kickers in the NFL, though near the bottom of guys who are making “real” money. The very best kickers these days are seeing above $4 million annually, so if Santos has really broken out, the Bears might find that this turns out a bargain.
Santos is coming off a stellar year in which he missed just two kicks. He ended the year on a heater, connecting on 27 straight field goals to end the season, and setting a new record in the process:
— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) January 3, 2021
Tack on his scores in the Bears’ playoff loss, and you’d probably come away feeling like Cairo Santos is the team’s most consistent offensive player. And frankly, it felt like that some times.
The Bears’ holder (punter Pat O’Donnell) and long-snapper (Patrick Scales) are still free agents, so Chicago still has work to do in the special teams department. But at least the kicking circus can close up shop. Well, at least for now.