On Wednesday the Chicago Bears announced that they have signed long snapper Beau Brinkley and punter Ryan Winslow. The Bears current long snapper and punter, Patrick Scales and Pat O’Donnell, are both pending free agents for the 2022 season.
The 32-year old Brinkley has been long snapping since 2012 when the Titans signed him as an undrafted free agent. He played in 135 straight games for them until he was released 7 games into the 2020 season. He latched on with the Lions’ practice squad for a couple days in 2021, was signed to the Cardinals’ practice squad where he eventually appeared in 3 contests, then ended his season with a week on the Chargers’ practice squad.
The 27-year old Winslow was initially signed as a UDFA in 2018 by the Bears, but he was beat out by O’Donnell. He’s bounced around on 9 different stops since then, in a couple different pro leagues, with 2 games with the Cardinals in 2019 and 4 games split between Washington, Arizona, and Carolina in 2021. His career yards per punt is 41.6, and for comparison's sake, last season O’Donnell had a 46.2 average.
If you’re thinking these are potential cost cutting measures, that could be possible at punter, but at long snapper Brinkley would pull in the same as Scales on a veteran minimum contract.
My guess is these are just a couple pick-ups to have during a long offseason, but with Scales and O’Donnell both free agents you never know what the players may want to do.
I made an edit to my original article, because while Brinkley does have more service time, the minimum salary at 7 years and beyond is the same.