One Bear angling for a new contract has made his way back to Halas Hall.
No, the star middle linebacker isn’t back in the building.
Kicker Robbie Gould has been participating in the voluntary offseason workout program this week after taking the first month off. Gould is entering the final season of his four-year contract that has been a bargain for the club. He was signed off the street in Week 5 of 2005 when Doug Brien’s back acted up. There was no signing bonus, no fancy language in the deal. And he was ecstatic to trade a construction helmet for a football helmet.
I remember Gould coming off the practice field the day he had his tryout. He was headed upstairs in Halas Hall, probably to sign his contract, and he was so nervous he wouldn’t even share his name with two reporters wondering who the new kicker in town was.
Now, Gould’s represented the Bears at the Pro Bowl once, and was an alternate last season. He’s the club’s all-time leader in field-goal accuracy. And he wants to be paid. By showing up with a little more than a month remaining in workouts, he shows some goodwill. No one has said so, but it could be a deal is coming in the near future. The Bears would take anything at this point to stem the tide of negative publicity they’ve had lately. From an upset linebacker to a linebacker headed to court, and from an arrested running back to a released safety, it’s been one hit after another.
The Bears have been in talks with Gould’s agent Brian Mackler since last season. He’s got big ambitions, and you can’t blame him. The Bears believe in getting a break when they give a player a contract early, even if it’s just one year premature. The club can dangle the franchise tag over Gould’s head in negotiations. But until defensive tackle Tommie Harris comes to agreement, who do you think would receive the more prohibitive franchise tag come next February? There’s no doubt it would be Harris. But general manager Jerry Angelo could still slap the transition tag on Gould.
What’s the price range? Josh Brown received the largest contract given to a kicker this spring when the Rams signed him to a $14.2 million, five-year deal with a $4 million signing bonus to come over from division rival Seattle in free agency. Adam Vinatieri picked up $3.5 million to sign with Indianapolis in a $12 million, five-year contract. Buffalo gave Rian Lindell $2.75 million up front on a $9 million, five-year deal. There’s a range to consider.
Stay tuned to see if something shakes out.