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Bears Mailbag: A Robbie Gould reunion, upcoming free agents, and the Pro Bowl

The offseason is upon us and there are many questions to be answered as we inch closer to Super Bowl Sunday.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl Sunday is almost here and even though the Chicago Bears aren’t in it (this year), the off-season flurry is upon us.

Technically, the Bears’ season ended over three weeks ago. But make no mistake, we should be in for a fun off-season, even if it’s not as active as last year. The team has multiple decisions to make. Those include potentially retaining their own free agents including Adrian Amos and Bryce Callahan, finding a kicking solution, and a potential decision to pursue and or sign Kareem Hunt.

With all of that in mind, let’s dive into this week’s mailbag.

I’m not sure Gould is going to have to take any sort of pay cut to come back. Yes, it would be hard to swallow for general manager Ryan Pace to spend $7-8 million on the kicking position. You know what else would be hard for Pace to swallow? Another season ending disappointment because he couldn’t get the kicking position figured out.

Now, let’s be clear. There’s mutual interest in a Gould/Bears reunion but the San Francisco 49ers still hold all the control in this situation. If they choose to do so, they can always franchise tag him, which is expect to cost right around $5 million for the 2019 season. According to Over The Cap, the 49ers are expected to have around $62 million in cap space. So, it’s not out of the question that they’d give Gould an extra $3 million in 2019 to make sure they keep him around for at least the year.

If they choose not to and he is a free agent on March 13th, I absolutely think he’ll be a top choice for the Bears. Until that point, we’ll just have to wait it out and see what happens. Make no mistake, though. Gould would love to come home and finish his career in Chicago.

I think that all depends what happens in free agency. If they miss on Gould and anyone else they would target, I would fully expect them to either hold another try out, sign a cheap veteran or even wait until the draft to see if they can either spend a late pick or sign an undrafted free agent or two.

The kicking situation is something the Bears will have at the top of their priority list. It’s also a virtual lock that Cody Parkey will not be back for the 2019 season, it just may take some time to see a resolution. Keep in mind that they save nothing by cutting Parkey early. Unless they use a June 1st designation, they’ll actually lose an extra $1.125 million in cap space on top of Parkey’s already guaranteed $4.062 million salary.

Also, the signing of Redford Jones means very little right now. As a worst case scenario, he may find his way into camp but the reality is, it’s simply too early to figure out what their final resolution will be.

It will all depend on what they do in free agency in the coming months.

If Callahan and Amos both walk and the Bears don’t sign any top end free agents, it’s possible that depending on the size of their internal free agents, they could see a pair of mid-round compensatory picks. With that being said, I still see that as unlikely. This team can clear space in a hurry and frankly, it’s hard to see both top Bears free agents walking and not doing much in free agency.

If they do opt to go the conservative route, they wouldn’t see any compensatory picks until 2020.

This is an interesting question and a scenario that could become very real. Now, I’m not saying the Bears won’t have money to extend both players but more than likely, one of Amos and Callahan will ask for too much money, test the market and find something close to their asking price on the open market.

In that situation, I lean Callahan. Yes, durability has been an issue but in terms of positional value, cornerback even at the nickel position is simply more valuable than a strong safety.

I also think the Bears could pit Dion Bush and either a mid-tier free agent or a mid-round draft pick against each other and let the best player win the job. I know many are worried about continuity after having terrible safeties since the departure of Mike Brown but Eddie Jackson is one of the best safeties in the league and Amos is limited in coverage. An upgrade in that department wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing.

On paper, Le’Veon Bell would be an awesome move for the Bears but it’s one they simply can’t afford to pay for.

Outside of the familiarity that Hunt would bring, his price tag is also another reason that he could be a top option (assuming ownership signs off on him). Like I’ve said multiple times before, I don’t like the idea of Hunt on the Bears roster but it’s also time we accept the reality that they are at least mulling it over. Part of that decision will come from the NFL’s final decision on his punishment. The other part is ownership signing off on him. With all of that said, the Bears have had multiple chances to shoot this down and they simply won’t do it. That alone says a lot.

As far as Bell goes, he’s a great player and would be a fantastic fit in this offense but he’s expected to see $14-16 million on the open market and that would be damn near all of the Bears’ cap space in one move. It’s just not going to happen.

Looking at the Bears current restricted free agents, I’d say there’s no worry of that happening.

  • S DeAndre Houston-Carson
  • TE Ben Braunecker

Are the only two players on the roster set to be in that category. This is because Roy Robertson-Harris will be an exclusive rights free agent due to him being played on the “Non-Football Injury List” his rookie season with a heat related illness.

Long story short, I don’t expect either player to get tendered an offer but I wouldn’t be surprised to see either player back on cheaper deals.

If Bears fans haven’t learned by now, they may never. People are going to hate Mitchell Trubisky, regardless of what he does.

Frankly, no one really played that well in the Pro Bowl but even if they did, who really cares? That game is worse than any competitive flag football game I’ve seen. It’s honestly more of a two-hand touch game than it is anything that resembles pro football.

Even so, the fact that Trubisky was able to lead the Bears to a 12-4 record, a division title and become the first Pro Bowl Bears quarterback since Jim McMahon is pretty impressive in its own, even if he was an alternate.

I saw everything I needed to see in the fourth quarter of their wild card loss to know that Trubisky’s future is still bright. No one’s opinion of a quarter in the Pro Bowl could change that for me.