The 2018 season showed us all how vital the kicking position is, especially for the Chicago Bears. The kicking game last season cost them a shot for a first-round bye and a chance to rest key injured players. Instead, Cody Parkey ended the season with the infamous “Double Doink” and a first round exit. So with the kick that blew up the 2018 season, why hasn’t General Manage Ryan Pace made the issue his number one priority?
The Bears need to figure this out
Coach Matt Nagy has done his best to work with the cards he’s been dealt. He tried all sorts of methods during OTA’s. In May with eight new kickers in rookie mini-camp, Nagy had them all attempt the infamous 43-yard field goal. Of course, the candidates went a combined two for eight which had Nagy furious. Eventually, the team narrowed it down to only three kickers: Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry, and Eddy Pineiro. As the final three battled it out, no one asserted themselves as the favorite. In fact, nobody impressed at all. In the end, Blewitt was let go, and the final two left standing were Fry and Pineiro.
Fry or Pineiro starting Week 1 will have me just as worried as the kicking situation last season. That’s a big problem for Chicago.
In discussing the three straight misses, Nagy was as close to being at a loss for words as he ever gets.
“You can’t have that. We’re going to figure this thing out, but 0-for-3 today? No good.”
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) June 11, 2019
Chris Blewitt was probably the best of the kicking candidates in rookie minicamp (from the kicks I saw). Today he was waived.
It’s Eddy Pineiro vs. Elliott Fry now, and don’t rule out kicker-to-be-claimed-later.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) June 12, 2019
The ideal solution for Chicago? Trade for Robbie Gould
I mean, it just makes too much sense to bring back the guy who should never have left. Ever since letting Robbie Gould walk, he’s converted 82 of 85 field goal attempts, including six-for-six from beyond 50 yards. The reunion makes a ton of sense. Fans love him, he loves Chicago, and HE’S GOOD! Gould has even said he wants to live in Chicago when his career is over. The Bears all-time leading scorer just recently sold his Kildeer home but no need to panic, he told WSCR 670-AM that he would be building a new home in the Chicago area.
The problem with the solution of trading for Gould is it may be a little more difficult than other scenarios. Gould is currently holding out with the San Francisco 49ers in hopes of getting a long term deal. It appears the two sides aren’t anywhere near close to getting a deal done with Gould missing all of mini-camp. Although this may be a more difficult option, it’s the best in my opinion. I would be willing to give up to a 4th round pick to be able to have a kicker the caliber of Gould.
Not going to hit the panic button yet but the #Bears have had multiple tryouts & brought in over 20 kickers.
They either don’t know how to evaluate the position or the veteran route is the only way to go.
Either way, this team has too much talent for K to be an issue.
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) June 12, 2019
Trade for Baltimore Ravens backup Kaare Vedvik
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said his goal for Kaare Vedvik in year two is for him to kick well enough in the preseason to be able to trade him away. Vedvik starred in last years preseason going 8 of 9 along with a 56-yard field goal. Unfortunately, a head injury kept him sidelined all of 2018.
This option is an intriguing one. It also sounds a lot more feasible given how the Ravens already have a solid kicker in Justin Tucker and Harbaugh’s desire to trading Vedvik.
Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said there was a lot of interest in Kaare Vedvik across the league before he was injured. He says the kicker is doing well in his recovery. Praised Shock Trauma for their work and care.
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) September 6, 2018
The latest on Ravens K Kaare Vedvik:
— He's out of Shock Trauma
— He suffered significant injuries to his head, including his face/mouth
— A restaurant host says Vedvik was out Saturday with teammate Christopher Ezeala
— He's cooperative with police https://t.co/fmxMGmCpkw
— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) September 6, 2018
His recovery seems to be going well.
Kaare Vedvik is a name to watch for the #Bears at kicker. @AaronLemingNFL talked about it last night, but Ravens will try to trade him. Big leg. He makes a 60, 65 and 70 yard field goals in the video below ???
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) May 6, 2019
Sign veteran free agent Matt Bryant
My third and easiest option is to sign 44-year-old free agent Matt Bryant. Although he’s getting up there in age, I would feel much better with the experience of Bryant rather than the two guys we have now. Bryant is a kicker who’s nailed kick after kick in clutch situations.
I've heard some buzz about Matt Bryant maybe being a wise move for #Bears. Makes sense, he's the best current FA K available.
Since 2007, Matt Bryant is 8 for 15 (53%) in outdoor games when it's below 45 degrees.
You sure you want him kicking at Soldier Field in Dec/Jan?
— Bill Zimmerman (@ZimmermanSXM) June 12, 2019
This is a very big problem the Chicago Bears needs to solve. Kickers are often the deciding factor in a win or loss. Whatever decision Pace makes he should do soon, as Chicago fans are fed up with the whole kicking situation. Will Fry or Pineiro give us better results than 2018? I personally don’t have much confidence in either. Is it worth it to give up draft capital to get a proven but expensive kicker in Gould, or is the best route trading for the hot name in Vedvik?
In the end, signing a veteran like Bryant might be the smartest choice. In my opinion, anything is better than the circus currently going on in Chicago.
Jeremy Hoffman is a writer for PFN covering the Chicago Bears. You can follow him at @HoggNFL