The Chicago Bears kicking situation is one of the most talked-about of the NFL offseason. That is wonderfully weird, is it not? Only Chicago has the sort of pull in the sports world to where they could make a battle for the kicker position interesting news. Such is reality. In part because of how their previous season ended and how everything has transpired since then.
For those who somehow don’t know the situation, here’s a quick recap. Cody Parkey signed a lucrative contract in March of 2018. He then proceeded to miss 11 kicks that season including the potential game-winner against Philadelphia in the playoffs. He then proceeded to appear on The Today Show to talk about his “struggles” dealing with that miss, all without informing the Bears he was going to do it.
To the surprise of maybe three people (in the country) he was cut.
Since then the Bears have added eight kickers in some capacity. Their competition for the starting job began in rookie minicamps. After some fairly brutal tactics by the coaching staff, six were given their release with Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry advancing to OTAs. They were soon joined by Eddy Pineiro via trade from Oakland. A couple of weeks later Blewitt was released.
Pineiro and Fry are the last men standing as training camp looms. The question is will they survive the final leg of the journey?
Chicago Bears aren’t going all in on their kickers yet
Don’t be fooled though. Neither Fry nor Pineiro could be called “leaders” for the job at this point. Merely survivors. Nobody has separated in the battle just yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t have the opportunity to do so, but according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, they’re keeping their options wide open.
“The Bears will be closely monitoring the kicking competitions going on in other training camps. The Bucs have veteran Cairo Santos, who had a brief stay with the Bears, set to battle draft pick Matthew Gay for the job. The Steelers have veteran Chris Boswell, who has performed at a high level in the past but is coming off an awful season, set to battle Matthew Wright. Kaare Vedvik could be a trade target with the Ravens as he is highly unlikely to unseat veteran Justin Tucker, who is one of the best in the history of the league.”
This doesn’t include possible free agent options like veterans Matt Bryant and Kai Forbath. So it’s not like the Bears are lacking choices. They merely want to give the young guys a chance to prove they deserve the job. A competition was promised and they’ve stood by their word. Not every team would go this far.