Take 2: Is there any way the Bears bring back PK Cody Parkey?
Pro Football Weekly GM Hub Arkush and senior Bears reporter Bob LeGere debate whether PK Cody Parkey’s time with the club is over after last-second clank in stunning wild-card defeat.
ARKUSH: What’s that old “Naked City” intro, Bob? There are eight million stories in the City of New York and this has been one of them? There will be eight million stories about the 2018 Chicago Bears in the coming days, weeks and months, and the first thousand or two will all be about Cody Parkey. Parkey is not THE reason the Bears lost their wild-card game to the Eagles, but he obviously blew his chance to be the hero. Once Bears fanatics, I mean fans, get over their disappointment and outrage, we should hope they would grasp that very important distinction. The Bears do still have a critical decision to make on Parkey, though. Forget his contract, the uprights and the fact he deserves better than the way Bears fans have treated him so far. Is there any way the Bears can bring Parkey back knowing the distractions and added pressures it will put on his teammates with his mere presence?
LEGERE: My best guess right now is, “No way.” No kicker in the NFL missed more FG tries than Parkey, who was 23-for-30 during the regular season. Four other kickers missed seven times; two had better percentages than Parkey and two were worse. However, the Bears are already into the 26-year-old Parkey for $5.5 million, and his $3.5 million base next year is fully guaranteed. That’s a lot of loot to pay someone for one year. The league is full of kickers who washed out on one team and then had successful careers elsewhere, and Parkey could be one of them. But the Bears are his fourth team in five years, which isn’t a good sign. The bottom line for the Bears is this: Was Parkey’s off year (76.7 on FG attempts) in 2018, just that, one bad season? Or is his 86.4 percent accuracy rate over the previous four seasons more indicative of the kind of kicker he is?
ARKUSH: You know, Bob, I get all you’re saying, and they’re all sound football points, but I’m just not sure that is what this will come down to. There is every reason to suggest Parkey will come back and have a good year kicking the football somewhere, but the Bears could be damned if they do and damned if they don’t. Which will be the lesser risk? If you cut Parkey, what kind of message does it send to the players in the locker room after you built your culture around the brotherhood of players -- until they miss a big kick? But how much extra pressure are you putting on every player every time Parkey goes out to kick, with each guy waiting for him to miss again? It seems the right football move is to move on from him regardless of whether you think he can be a good kicker again or not.
LEGERE: Hub, maybe I’m just too nice of a guy, something I’ve rarely been accused of, but I think the Bears should bring in competition and let Parkey try to hang on to his job. If he can withstand that kind of pressure, then I think he’s worth a second chance. That would give him the chance to demonstrate the kind of mental toughness he’s going to need if he remains in Chicago. Your point about the culture Nagy has built is well taken. He frequently refers to the team as a family, and you don’t boot someone out of a family because they’re going through a rough time. It was actually Lovie Smith who said that, back in 2006, the last time the Bears went to the Super Bowl. His kicker that year was Robbie Gould, who hit 32 of 36 FG attempts (88.9 percent).