No team has been more infamously snake-bitten at the kicker position than the Chicago Bears in recent years, and they just made a big move to change that.
The Bears agreed to a five-year, $16 million deal with kicker Cairo Santos, a pending free agent, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The last two years of the deal are reportedly voidable, effectively making it a three-year, $9 million deal.
The deal is a major pay raise for Santos, who joined the Bears last offseason on a one-year, $910,000 deal, but to most Bears fans, he's worth every penny.
Cairo Santos was a welcome change for Bears
Most NFL fans will remember the disaster that was Cody Parkey's double-doink miss in the 2019 wild-card game, but what ensued was even more wild.
After Parkey's quick release, the Bears brought in nine different kickers to rookie minicamp (the norm being four), then put them through the wringer. Players described incessant messages featuring Trackman data and a coaching staff obsessed with Parkey's 43-yard miss. One player, Eddy Piñeiro, eventually made it through and stuck as the team's starter for the 2019 season.
Pineiro wasn't a disaster, but a groin injury led to the Bears bringing in Santos before the 2020 season. Santos, the former starter for the Kansas City Chiefs, had been on four teams in two years at that point, but he regained his old form in 2020.
Santos made 30-of-32 field goal attempts and 36-of-37 extra points last season, including a franchise-record 26 consecutive field goal makes. If it's more of the same in 2021, the Bears might have finally found stability at a position that has haunted them since releasing Robbie Gould in 2016.
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