I’ve always thought that Chicago Bears GM Phil Emery was a man of his word, but he went back on his word Friday morning. At the start of the season, Emery said that no contract extensions would be handed out during the season and all of that business would sort itself out after the season.
Just days before their season finale, the Bears agreed to terms on a four-year extension for kicker Robbie Gould, a $15 million deal with $9 million in guaranteed money that will keep Gould in a Bears uniform through 2017. Gould is the most accurate kicker in Bears history and the third most accurate kicker in league history.
The deal makes sense for the Bears, who had a little bit of cap space left this season and can use that to save themselves some precious cap space in 2014 by agreeing to the deal before the end of the 2013 season. It also allows Gould to “feed his family,” as one of the most outspoken Bears at the start of the season when Emery put the kibosh on any in-season extensions. Assuming an average monthly grocery bill of $1200, Gould can buy approximately 625 years worth of groceries with the guaranteed portion of his deal.
The deal was put together relatively quickly and painlessly, taking less than four days to complete. We were not able to confirm if Patrick Mannelly snapped pen to Gould or that Adam Podlesh steadied the paper as Gould signed. The 31-year old Gould was happy to be back:
“I really love the organization. I really love the city. I love being a Chicago Bear,” Gould said. “I enjoy putting the uniform on every Sunday or Monday night or Thursday night or whenever we’re playing. It means a lot. It means a lot to be in one jersey. It means a lot to continue your career in one jersey.”
If Gould plays out his entire extension, he’s likely to shatter the Bears scoring records and become the all-time leading Chicago Bears scorer. Heading into the Week 17 matchup, Gould trails Kevin Butler by 95 points for all time points for the Bears with 1,021. Considering Gould has seven seasons of scoring 100+ points, it’s likely he’ll establish a new Bears mark next season or in early 2015.
Gould is the first of many deals that Phil Emery and lead contract negotiator Cliff Stein will need to work out during what’s going to be a very busy offseason. The Bears only have 30 players under contract for next season and some of those players might not be back next season.
The big focus will be the status of Jay Cutler and whether or not Emery and the Bears can work out a long-term deal or if they’ll have to resort to the franchise tag to bring Cutler back. But first things first. The Bears face a win-or-go-home game on Sunday against the rival Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title and a berth in the playoffs.