Bears Sign Tryout Austin Signor Kicker to 3-Year Deal – What Does it Mean for Robbie Gould?


Oct 28, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Robbie Gould (9) kicks a game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter to beat the Carolina Panthers 23-22 at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears signed kicker Austin Signor, who was at Halas Hall for the voluntary minicamp on a tryout basis, to a three year deal.  I understand signing a kicker to be a “camp leg” especially since Gould is still recovering from a calf injury that cut his 2012 season short, but signing Signor to a three year deal raises this Bears fans eyebrows a bit.  Why sign a three year deal?  What does this mean for Robbie Gould?  Let’s explore.

The first interesting thing about Signor is that best I can tell, he hasn’t kicked since he was in college in 2009 when he led Eastern Illinois in scoring with 76 points while kicking 14 of 22 field goal attempts in his senior season.  Now stop me if I’m wrong, but 14 out of 22 isn’t exactly world beater percentage.  By all accounts, he has a pretty strong leg, as he demonstrated in this clip he put together to show off his kicking ability that was posted on YouTube:

I wonder if Phil Emery was just surfing around on YouTube when he stumbled onto this.

What does all this mean for Robbie Gould.  Gould has been hobbled by a calf injury that cut his season short in 2012.  Are the Bears worried that he’s lost some leg or that he won’t be healthy?  Robbie is scheduled to make nearly $3 million in 2013, so are the Bears preparing for a changing of the guard at kicker to save a few bucks?  And if they are thinking about replacing Gould, why sign a no-name kicker who’s been out of football for the last three years and why sign him to a three year deal if he’s just going to be around for camp and the offseason program?  It could be nothing, but it bears watching.

What do you think?  Are the Bears setting the stage to get rid of the most accurate kicker and second leading scorer in team history or am I reading too much into this?