By: Alex Patt
There is so much to be excited for going forward with this Chicago Bears squad, it feels like they are mostly set top-to-bottom in terms of roster depth. One glaring issue still remains…the kicking.
Unfortunately the visions of Cody Parkey hitting the uprights and crossbar are still fresh in the minds of many even after he was officially cut. Since then, coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace have brought a number of guys in to try to fill that spot. So far it has been an endless rain kicks and misses coming from the group of candidates. Just today Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune reported all kickers they are currently trying out missed from 42 yards away. The situation continues to look bad which is frustrating because this is one nagging problem on a very good and exciting roster.
Yes, we know former Bears great Robbie Gould has not yet signed with the San Francisco 49ers despite getting franchise tagged, but that still looks like a pipe dream. The pool of available kickers with a strong resume is not very big, but an interesting name sometimes gets glossed over, former Atlanta Falcon Matt Bryant.
Bryant, a.k.a “Money Matt” spent his last 10 seasons in Atlanta and made 88.7% of his field goal attempts with them. He has been in the league since 2002 and has made 86.2% of his 450 field goal attempts in the NFL. Last season in 13 games he made 95.2% of his field goal attempts and was 4-of-5 from 50 yards or more. Bryant’s resume also includes the highest field goal percentage in the NFL in 2011 and a Pro Bowl selection in 2016. Oh and if you are wondering he has made 14 of 15 field goal attempts in the playoffs.
Now this all seems like a no-brainer, but there are some reasons why it may not be. First of all he is 44 years old and was cut by Atlanta even after a pretty dang good year. Worth noting he missed three games last season due to injury. One may also wonder if he was aided over his career playing a big chunk of games in the Georgia Dome and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which does not deal with the natural elements like Soldier Field does. If Bryant was younger he probably would have resigned with Atlanta or been picked up by another team by now but the age is probably the biggest red flag.
At this point though, why not bring in a veteran like Bryant? The Bears are not getting results from the many guys they have brought in and it is hard to imagine them having to break the bank to bring in a 44-year old kicker. Bryant is an 83.7% field goal kicker in outdoor venues (89.4% in a dome) so yes the numbers are better indoors but that is not the sole reason he has good numbers over his career. It may not be a long-term solution but can he REALLY be any worse than what they have? Give him a shot and see if Money Matt still has some cash flow left.