Bears General Manager Ryan Pace’s decision to cut kicker Robbie Gould has always been questionable, but never more so than now, after a missed field goal cost the Bears a playoff game.
Gould had played 11 NFL seasons, all with the Bears, and was the team’s longest-tenured active player and all-time leader in points, total field goals and 50-yard field goals, when Pace cut him just before the start of the 2016 regular season. Since then, Gould has played for the Giants and 49ers and gone a combined 82-for-85 on field goals, the best accuracy rate in the NFL over three years. The Bears’ kickers, meanwhile, have gone a cumulative 60-for-79 over the last three years, worst in the NFL — counting Cody Parkey‘s 3-for-4 day yesterday.
There’s been some revisionist history that actually Gould wasn’t good in 2015 and so it was smart for Pace to cut him. That just isn’t true. It’s true that Gould wasn’t quite as great in 2015 as he has been in the three years since then, but he was still an above-average kicker in 2015, when he went 33-for-39 on field goals with a long of 55 yards. Pace just calculated that the kicker he signed to replace Gould, Connor Barth, would be better. And that turned out not to be the case.
Nor has Parkey been better, nor were Mike Nugent nor Cairo Santos, the two kickers the Bears had between Barth and Parkey, better than Gould. The Bears had a good kicker, they cut him, and they’ve paid for it.