Last Tuesday, the Denver Broncos released one of the best players on their roster. It did not take long for him to find a new home with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I cannot speak to the idea that Ryan Poles wants to add a kicker, but I can tell you that he should. I'm not talking about the UDFA rookie kicker out of Syracuse either - although that was a solid move. When a player like Brandon McManus becomes available in free agency, the Chicago Bears should have been interested.
It sounds like there may have been some animosity toward Brandon McManus after two years of him voicing his opinion about OTAs and helping push for players to boycott them. Last season, McManus personally boycotted OTAs until the last session. The year prior is when he, along with others, helped the player's union by boycotting voluntary workouts. This season, McManus was set to earn nearly $4 million dollars. The combination of salary and his speaking up was likely enough for Sean Payton to push for McManus to be released. Payton had this to say about the transaction:
"“Ultimately, you’re constantly looking at what’s in the best interest for your team. A lot of the time, money and what your ‘musts’ are come into it. You guys know this better than anyone, the transactions continue here from now until training camp. There may be a player of two that we are still looking to sign. We factored a lot of that in and then we made that decision.”"- Sean Payton, Broncos HC
Cairo Santos is a liability in my opinion. He cannot be trusted to consistently make kicks beyond 50 yards. His accuracy is great, but not having a leg is a problem. Throughout his career, Santos has an 84.5% field goal percentage. Last year, he made 91.3% of his field goals, while only making 84.4% of his extra points. While with the Chicago Bears, Santos has only attempted 10 kicks from 50+ and has only made seven. In 116 games, Santos only has 27 attempts from 50+.
Now, Brandon McManus might not have the same accuracy as Cairo Santos, but that has plenty to do with his attempts from beyond 50 yards. McManus has the leg to kick the ball that far and the Chicago Bears could use someone like him. McManus only made 77.8% of his kicks last year, but that's because he attempted 13 beyond 50 yards. That is three more attempts than Santos has over his three years in Chicago. McManus made eight of those. He was perfect from the 40-49 range and made 10 of 13 from within the 20-39 range. In 144 games, McManus has 72 attempts from 50+.
Not to mention, Santos is going to earn $4.5 million this year. Chicago could have cut him, saved $3.5 million, and probably paid McManus less than the difference. Details on the one-year deal with the Jaguars have not been made public yet, but I doubt it's more than $3.5 million. Not adding a player like Brandon McManus won't be the end of the world, but if UDFA kicker, Andre Szmyt cannot push Santos off the roster, we can expect any long field goal attempts to be punts instead.