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Report: Bears to release Cody Parkey

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I’d imagine they’ll make a hard push for Robbie Gould if the opportunity presents itself.

Some of the least surprising news came out Friday afternoon, with NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport tweeting that the Chicago Bears plan on releasing kicker Cody Parkey at the start of the new league year. They own him $3.5 million in guaranteed money for 2019, and will have to carry $5,187,500 in dead money. They can carry it all this season, or split over this season and next season if they designate him a post-June 1 cut.

The Bears signed Parkey to a four-year, $15 million contract extension last spring, but he had a brutal 2018 season, capped off by a devastating playoff miss. He converted only 23 of 30 field goals, and also missed three extra point attempts. His most devastating miss came in the playoffs when he double-doinked it off the uprights in the closing seconds.

Parkey made an appearance on the Today show not too long after, and there was a lot of criticism over it. Whether that should matter or not, it seems like given his performance during the season and in that game, it did not help matters.

The Bears will be in the market for a new kicker next month, and you can probably bet decent money they will make a run at Robbie Gould if the San Francisco 49ers have not placed the franchise tag on him. The 49ers have until March 5th to make that decision, and then free agency begins on March 11th with the negotiating period (players can start signing on March 13th).

Gould has never hidden his love for Chicago, even after the team released him. His family has continued living there, and he has implied his interest in returning if the Bears came calling. During an interview with a Chicago radio station, he said, “Cody [Parkey]’s obviously the kicker for the Chicago Bears. They have a lot of things they would have to do in order for it to work. And those are all things that you never know what’s going to happen, right?”

Well, when March 13th arrives, Parkey will not be the kicker. A “lot of things” covers releasing Parkey and then also making a proper offer to Gould. He has been one of the top two or three kickers in the NFL the past two seasons with the 49ers. Last season, Gould earned $2 million, closing out a two-year deal that was worth $4 million. He ranked 19th in average total dollars per year. Stephen Gostkowski had the top average salary at $4.3 million, and he also is due to hit free agency. I’ve got to think Gould is looking for $4 million per year in his next deal, at least.

The franchise tag for a special teams player $5,162,000. The 49ers could decide to use the tag and try and negotiate a deal from there. They do have the cap room to take the hit, but is it worth it for a kicker? Gould is a great one, but it depends on where you think the team is in the rebuilding process. If you think this is a playoff team with the return of Jimmy Garoppolo and the addition of serious defensive talent at the No. 2 pick (and potentially the addition of an Antonio Brown), then it might be worth it. Gould is 36 years old, but age has never been a huge issue at the kicker position.