Bears Tried to Get Back Former Star Player in Trade, He Says

Robbie Gould Pace Trade

Getty Former Bears general manager Ryan Pace apparently regretted letting Robbie Gould leave Chicago.

Former Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace moved on from franchise kicker Robbie Gould to save money against the cap ahead of the 2016 season, but he apparently came to regret that decision so much that he attempted to bring Gould back home to Chicago in a trade a few seasons later.

In a May 10 interview on ESPN 1000’s “Waddle & Silvy” show, Gould revealed that Pace had tried to trade with the San Francisco 49ers to bring him back to the Bears in 2019 when Gould was holding out from all of the Niners’ offseason training activities. He also said he believed it was “probably more” former head coach John Fox and his coaching staff than Pace who originally wanted him out of Chicago prior to the 2016 season.

“It was probably Fox if I had to guess. It was probably more the coaches than Ryan Pace. I think those guys were working in tandem,” Gould said. “But I will tell you that Ryan Pace tried to get me back in a trade a few years afterward, when the Eddy Pineiro trade happened, because I was holding out in San Francisco.

“Yeah, we tried to come back to Chicago when I was holding out from San Francisco in my contract dispute. … It was after [Cody] Parkey [was released] because I was a free agent after that happened, so it would have been the ’19 season.”

Bears Had Troubles After Robbie Gould’s Departure

Gould Trade Parkey Inside

GettyFormer Bears kicker Cody Parkey after the infamous double-doink miss.

It isn’t hard to imagine why Pace might have felt remorse about ditching Gould in 2016. After they released him, the Bears sunk into a period of kicking turmoil that saw them go through five different starting kickers over the course of five seasons, beginning with Connor Barth in 2016 and continuing with Mike Nugent (2017), Cody Parkey (2018) and Pineiro (2019) until 2020, when they found a long-term fit in Cairo Santos.

Without question, the lowest of the lows in the post-Gould era was Parkey’s infamous double-doink miss in Chicago’s playoff loss to Philadelphia in January 2019. The Bears knew going into the matchup that Parkey was prone to inconsistency at times. After all, he had hit the uprights with four of his kicks (two field goals and two extra points) in Week 10’s loss to Detroit and even went as far as to get extra practice in at Soldier Field to help prevent the problem in the future. But the Bears trusted him to find his way and, as a result, experienced one of their franchise’s most painful losses of the modern era.

The Bears did have a little success with Pineiro, at least. He made 23 of 28 field goals and 27 of 29 extra points in 2019 and might have been able to hold onto the job for 2020 if not for a groin injury that landed him on season-ending injured reserve. Instead, Santos was tabbed for the job and kicked well enough in Pineiro’s absence to earn a three-year contract extension from the Bears, leading to Pineiro’s departure.

Could Robbie Gould Return to Chicago for 2023?

Gould Trade Pace Inside

GettyRobbie Gould says he would “absolutely” return to the Bears if asked back for 2023.

Gould has made no secret about his interest in returning to Chicago to finish his career. He told ESPN back in March that he would “absolutely” re-sign with the Bears if they called him during the 2023 offseason and offered him a spot on their roster. But with Santos still under contract and an undrafted rookie set to push him in training camp, would it make sense for the Bears to revisit Gould as an option for their kicker spot?

Santos had an uneven 2022 season for the Bears. While he made 21 of 23 field goals with a long of 51 yards, he missed five of his extra-point tries (27 of 32) with one of his misses happening in Chicago’s one-point loss to Detroit in Week 10. According to Over the Cap, the Bears could also save $4 million in cap space if they released Santos with a post-June 1 designation and would be left with just $500,000 in dead cap for 2023.

From a roster-building perspective, though, there isn’t much sense in ditching a 32-year-old kicker in favor of a 40-year-old who has spent the past several years kicking in the warm California weather. Any money the Bears would save from cutting Santos would have to be redirected into a new contract for Gould, who might ultimately cost more for the Bears in the long run even if his 2023 cap hit were smaller than Santos’. Gould has also struggled to stay healthy, managing to play in all 17 games in 2022 but missing a combined eight games in the three seasons prior.

Smart money right now is the Bears staying the course on their current kicking plan. Santos has the inside track on keeping his job for the 2023 season, but the Bears also have undrafted rookie and former Syracuse standout Andre Szmyt in place on their 90-man roster to challenge him in training camp. Unless Szmyt is really good in camp — or Santos is really bad — there is little reason for the Bears to force a change in 2023.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments