Chicago Bears: How Cairo Santos has helped fans move on from kicking woes
By Braden Fogal
The Chicago Bears seem to have found a diamond in the rough with Cairo Santos
If you’re a Chicago Bears fan then you know the hardships of the kicker position.
Fans in 2020, however, have been fortunate enough to have Cairo Santos. A man of small stature, standing at just 5-foot-8 but making up for it with a cannon for a leg when it comes to converting field goals (18-of-20).
Extra points even, which have been hard to come by for the Bears struggling offense, have been a piece of cake for Santos after converting all 20 of his attempts through 12 weeks.
Since cutting Robbie Gould in 2016 due to budgetary reasons, fans have been put through the wringer at the kicker position with names like Connor Barth, Cody Parkey, and Eddy Pineiro who converted on 82 percent of his kicks in 2019, but has missed all of 2020 rehabbing from a groin injury.
It’s been a year of redemption for Santos and the Bears kicking game. The kicker is playing on his sixth team since being selected in the 2014 NFL draft. The 29-year-old played for the Bears in 2017 when he converted on one of his two field-goal attempts, but it seems like he’s making the best of a second chance.
Much-like Parkey, who is receiving Pro Bowl votes kicking for the Cleveland Browns this season.
He can place that trophy alongside the jar of hearts he ripped from citizens of Chicago back in 2018.
Bears kickers have come a long way since that 2018 NFC Wild Card game. The offense is still a major pain to watch despite having an elite level defense, but at least fans can breathe again during kicks.
Santos is signed to just a one-year contract, so it will be interesting to see if Ryan Pace and the Bears front office decide to resign him. Without having to dive into free agency or rely on a rookie kicker next season, Santos might be the best option for the team playing at a Pro Bowl level in his own right. He has made most of us even forget Eddy Pineiro is on the team.
Statistically, this year has been Santos’ finest season in the pros converting on 90 percent of his attempts. The closest he has been since 2016 when he kicked at an 88.6 percent rate with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Resigning Santos at a budget-friendly cost should be Pace’s top priority in the special teams department.