Robbie Gould - signed through 2017 - Many Chicago Bears' fans are pining for the team to cut ties with Gould. Yes, he had a few bad games during the 2015 season, but he also set a career high with 33 field goals made (2nd most in the NFL for 2015). His 127 points scored were his most since the Bears' Super Bowl team of 2006. His kickoff touchback percentage is among the league worst at 47%, but he set a career high with 7 FGs made of 50+ yards.
He missed a couple of potential game winners and a game tying FG, but he also won the Raiders game with 2 seconds left on the clock and he went 4 for 4 in the Tampa Bay game. We're talking about a guy that had a couple rough stretches, but overall he was good in 2015.
But he's not paid like a good kicker, he's paid like one of the best kickers in the NFL. His 2016 cap hit of $4,100,000 is tied for the highest in the league with New England's Stephen Gostkowski. If the Bears were up against the salary cap, I could see them entertaining the thought of cutting Gould, but with $60+ million available, it doesn't make any sense to move on from him.
Need I remind you guys of pre-Robbie kickers like Paul Edinger, Chris Boniol, Jeff Jaeger and Carlos Huerta.
But let's be honest, most of you that don't like Gould, simply don't like him because he made the silly 'feed my family' statement a few years back.
Pat O'Donnell - signed through 2017 - From his rookie year to his 2nd year, O'Donnell improved his punting average, his net average, his number of punts placed inside the 20 and punts fair caught. The Bears also decreased the number of returnable punts and punt return yards allowed from 2014 to 2015, which is a combination of O'Donnell's punting and his coverage units.
Some fans may never feel a 6th round draft pick is worthy of a punter, but consider these pre-O'Donnell 6th rounders from the Bears; Cornelius Washington, Isaiah Frey, J.T. Thomas, Dan LeFevour, Al Afalava, J.D. Runnels and Tyler Reed. That list goes back to 2006 and the only one still around Chicago is Corn Wash and he hasn't done much as a Bear. The most successful of that group is Thomas with 23 starts in the last three years with the Jags and Giants.
Patrick Scales - signed through 2016 - Scales has bounced around a few practice squads and training camps since 2011, but his in game action came with Chicago last year. He snapped in their last 5 games of the season and he's the only long snapper on the current offseason roster. He'll be around through OTAs and camp to prove he should be the guy moving forward.
2016 OUTLOOK - The Bears will no doubt kick the tires on a few specialists this offseason, and they'll add at least one guy at each spot to help out in camp. But I don't expect any changes among their three guys.
Cutting Gould would free up about $2.9 million, but like I said above, unless the Bears need that money, I'm guessing they keep him around.
I suppose some unknown UDFAs could come in and outplay these guys, but they would have to really, and I mean really, impress. And then you'd be rolling the dice that their stellar camp/preseason performances wouldn't suddenly revert back to form.
What are your thoughts on the Bears' specialists in 2016?