Bears re-sign Robbie Gould
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears signed kicker Robbie Gould to a four-year extension Friday as they finish up final preparations for Sunday's NFC North matchup against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
A league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that the deal totals $15 million, with more than $9 million guaranteed.
"I was probably one of the more outspoken guys in the beginning of training camp. I think everyone kind of knows that," Gould said. "This is a special day for a lot of reasons. When you get into what I consider the last part of your deal and you become a little up-in-[arms], you kind of realize maybe what's more important. You have to sit around and think about where you want to be, places to go. So we reached out to the organization. I thought it was important I remained a Bear."
Gould, the third-most accurate kicker in NFL history (86 percent), was in the final year of a six-year deal that paid $2.425 million in 2013 with a cap charge of $2.93 million. He expressed displeasure during training camp after the Bears said they weren't inclined to sign players to new deals during the season.
At the time, the Bears had about $1.6 million in available salary-cap space for 2013, and the club rebuffed Gould when he initially approached it about the possibility of signing a new deal, telling him "there was no money."
"Let me put it to you this way," Gould told ESPN Chicago 1000 in July. "If they wanted a guy, they're going to find a way to sign him if it meant that much to them."
That's exactly what the Bears did, but the transaction involved somewhat of a process.
The Bears entered the season with little cap room, and the space they did have they held back "for emergency funds," according to general manager Phil Emery. As the season progressed, however, the Bears realized they would have some leftover cap space. Despite the club's announcement that it wasn't inclined to sign extensions during the season, Emery maintained it would be open to listening to pitches from players and their representatives.
"We were very open the last couple of weeks of internally discussing the possibility of signing at least one player if we could find somebody that would fit into that equation," Emery said. "We were not aggressive in terms of pursuit of those players."
Instead, Gould's agent, Brian Mackler, recently approached the Bears about the possibility of signing the kicker to a new deal.
"We were able to come to the conclusion that worked very well for Robbie and worked very well for the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Bear fans," Emery said. "Just can't say enough about Robbie as a person. It's about the athlete. He speaks of what we want as a Chicago Bear: excellence on the field, excellence off the field."
Gould enters the season finale Sunday having connected on 26 of 29 field goal attempts, including a franchise-record 58-yard blast in the season opener. His 66-yard miss in Week 13 at Minnesota broke a streak of 12 consecutive successful attempts from 50 yards or longer dating to the 2010 season.
According to Emery, Gould's accuracy is 90 percent when the Bears are behind, which the general manager said "says a lot about who he is as an athlete, his mental toughness and mental makeup."
Gould has kicked 11 game-winning field goals in his career and has scored 1,021 points for the Bears, which ranks second in franchise history behind kicker Kevin Butler. Gould has seven 100-point seasons, tops in Bears history.
"I could've waited [to sign a new contract]," Gould said. "I could've went out in the market and made it a bidding war. Realistically, this is where I want to be. I'm pretty smart when it comes to if the deal's fair. I'm not going to go out and [haggle] over a couple hundred thousand dollars. That's just not me."
THE NFL ON ESPN.COM
CHICAGO TOP STORIES
- Nike Boy's Home Game Jersey Chicago Bears Devin Hester #23