In a move that surprised nobody, the Chicago Bears have decided to release kicker Cody Parkey, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The move will kick in on March 13, the start of the 2019 league year.
Parkey’s release comes just one year into a four-year, $15 million deal signed last March. As JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago pointed out on Twitter, the Bears can use a June 1 designation on Parkey, which would save them the $1.125 million that would go against their 2019 cap space.
Parkey’s lone season with the Bears was a disappointing one, as he only made 76.7 percent of his field goal attempts, the third-worst percentage in the league among qualified kickers. He also missed three extra point attempts. Fans became wary of his performance after Chicago’s Week 10 matchup against the Detroit Lions, during which he hit the uprights four times.
The last straw, however, came in their Wild Card matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, when a game-winning 43-yard field goal attempt was tipped, eliminating the Bears from the playoffs. Parkey followed that up with an appearance on the Today Show, which drew criticism from Bears head coach Matt Nagy.
The decision to release Parkey was a no-brainer. Seeing as though the kicker position was the only position that truly held the Bears back on a consistent basis, an upgrade is necessary to ensure they make a deeper run in the playoffs next year. Though it remains to be seen whom Chicago will bring in to replace him, general manager Ryan Pace would be wise to be incredibly aggressive in finding that player.