UPTATED: After initial reports had the Chicago Bears re-signing kicker Cairo Santos to a five-year, $16 million extension with a maximum deal of $17.5 million, the actual numbers have come in and the structure makes it more like a three-year, $9 million deal with two void years added on. The 2021 hit will only be $1,575,000 which gives the Bears flexibility as they work to navigate their way through the salary cap.
Santos was signed to the Bears’ active roster in August of 2020 before he was released and placed on the practice squad during final roster cuts. Chicago promoted him to the active roster with the placement of incumbent kicker Eddy Piñeiro on injured reserve.
Santos, who also played for the Bears for two games in 2017, hit 28 consecutive field goals after going 4-for-6 in his first three weeks with the team. He finished with a career-high field goal percentage of 93.8, and he hit all but one of his 37 extra points attempts. His field goal percentage saw him enter Chicago’s record books, as his percentage is the highest in team history for kickers who have had more than four attempts in a single season.
Though fairly risky to sign a kicker to a long-term contract in today’s NFL — Cody Parkey is proof of that — Santos is coming off of a stellar season and proved to be capable of doing what very few kickers have done since the departure of Robbie Gould: play consistently at Soldier Field.
Biggs mentioned in his report that the final two years of the deal are voidable, essentially making the extension a three-year deal. If the Bears choose to keep Santos around until the end of his contract, he would be under control with the team until 2025.