Connor Barth - Free agent - The 30 year old Barth had a bad start to the 2016 season by missing his first kick. Yeah, it was just one kick, but it was the first kick attempted by a Bears kicker since the Robbie Gould era ended. That was all it took for some fans to immediately long for Gould and despise Barth.
The anemic Bears’ offense only saw them get into position for Barth to attempt 23 field goals, and he made 18 of them. For a little perspective on his season, his 18 made FGs placed him tied for 28th, his 23 attempts was 27th, but his field goal percentage of 78.3% was a not too hot 28th. He did make 31 of 32 extra points.
I do think the Bears will bring Barth back, but I also think they should bring in some competition because that FG% should be higher.
FYI: Robbie Gould went 10 for 10 on FGs in his 10 games with the New York Giants, but he did miss 3 of of 23 extra points.
Pat O’Donnell - Signed through 2017 - O’Donnell’s punting numbers decreased a minuscule amount from 2015 to 2016. His average was off by .2 and his net average was down 1.3 yards. His 24 punts inside the 20 was tied for 17th and his 31 fair catches was 3rd in the league.
I’d like to see another punter brought in to at least push O’Donnell, but I would understand if they didn’t.
Patrick Scales - Exclusive right free agent - No reason to change the long snapper. He won the job last offseason and he had a fine 2016.
2017 OUTLOOK - They’ll have to bring back Scales, but as as ERFA, that’s a matter of when and not if. At kicker, if the Bears wanted to pay more than what Barth will command, they could throw money at 29 year old Greg Zuerlein or 31 year old Steven Hauschka, but I doubt the Rams and Seahawks will let those guys get away. The other free agent kickers or note are all 35+, so I can’t see the Bears going with one of them.
If they got the rookie route, CBSSports only lists three kickers with a draftable grade.
What are your thoughts on the specialists of the Bears in 2017?