Which kicker will the Chicago Bears turn to in 2021?

Chicago Bears - Credit: Brian Cassella/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Brian Cassella/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /

The Chicago Bears have plenty of decisions to make in 2021. A big one is determining who will be kicking field goals fr this team. Cairo Santos was brought in last season to take over kicking duties for Eddy Pineiro when Pineiro went out with a groin injury. Santos did more than step in though, he dominated. In fact, he had the best season of his career.

Santos made 93.8 percent of his kicks last season. Throughout his career, Santos has made 83.1 percent of his field goals throughout his career. Clearly, the Bears cannot expect to see the same results in 2021 from Santos, but he proved to be reliable. Santos is going to be a free agent and the Bears need to decide if they can pay to retain his services or not.

Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy have a second option to consider too. The team brought in Eddy Pineiro in 2019 as he won the giant kicker contest the Chicago Bears held in the offseason. Pineiro is five years younger than Santos, but can the Bears count on him? He has dealt with a groin injury two years in a row. In his only full season in 2019, Pineiro finished with an 82.1 field goal percentage.

Looking at the team’s salary cap situation, the Chicago Bears might be forced to go with Pineiro over Santos even if that is not the direction Pace and Nagy want to go. Pineiro is a restricted free agent, which gives the Bears more control of his fate too.

The Chicago Bears should re-sign Cairo Santos over Eddy Pineiro

The Chicago Bears should not worry too much about age. The team cannot count on Pineiro any longer with what seems to be constant groin injuries. Santos earned less than $1 million dollars last season. Looking at the top kicker salaries in the NFL, Santos has likely earned himself a decent contract in 2021, whether that contract comes from the Chicago Bears or another team.

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If I am the Chicago Bears, I am finding a way to bring back Santos on a two or three-year deal. The team should be able to sign him to a two-year, $8 million dollar or a three-year, $13 million dollar deal. This might seem like too much to some, but knowing you have a kicker you can trust is very important and Santos has been the best we have seen since Robbie Gould.