Bears add fourth kicker and vow, ‘We’re gonna get this thing right’

SHARE Bears add fourth kicker and vow, ‘We’re gonna get this thing right’

The Bears are adding John Baron II. | AP

The Bears didn’t draft a kicker Saturday, but general manager Ryan Pace said they could have had the draft board broken a certain way. They did add one, however, agreeing to sign San Diego State’s John Baron II as an undrafted free agent.

They also remain open to adding a veteran if they decide it will add to the kicker competition. That is notable, given Robbie Gould’s standing trade demand from the 49ers.

‘‘Maybe it’s a little unorthodox to have four kickers out there,’’ Pace said. ‘‘We don’t care. Let’s increase the competition, and let’s let the whole thing battle out. We’re unbiased on it. Our eyes are wide-open.’’

Pace wouldn’t confirm the signing of Baron, even though he said the Bears planned to sign an undrafted free-agent kicker. Kohl’s Kicking said that one of its pupils, Minnesota’s Emmit Carpenter, will join the Bears, too, perhaps as a tryout player during rookie camp.

‘‘ ‘Thorough’ is the word I want to use,’’ Pace said. ‘‘ ‘Thorough.’ Like looking under every stone and being thorough with this whole evaluation.’’

Baron made 50 of 60 field goals and all but two of his 137 extra-point tries the last three seasons. He didn’t attend the NFL Scouting Combine but was considered the fifth-best kicker available.

Baron made all five of his field-goal tries of 50 yards or longer last season, with a long of 54. He handled the Aztecs’ kickoffs, too.


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Signing an undrafted free agent became more likely when two kickers were drafted in the fifth round Saturday: Utah’s Matt Gay by the Buccaneers and Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert by the Browns.

Baron will compete with the Bears’ three offseason additions, none of whom even have kicked in the NFL preseason: Chris Blewitt, Redford Jones and Elliott Fry.

‘‘It’s not going to be an easy competition,’’ coach Matt Nagy said. ‘‘It’s about making your kicks under pressure, and it’s as simple as that. Either you make it or you don’t. We’re going to test them.’’

After a few minutes of kicker questioning, Nagy paused. He said the Bears talked openly about Cody Parkey’s double-doink miss in the playoffs. In team meetings the last few weeks, he has stressed comeback stories to his players — from Virginia’s basketball team winning the NCAA title to Tiger Woods taking the Masters.

Nagy pointed to a water bottle.

‘‘This right here is half-full, not half-empty,’’ he said. ‘‘‘So that’s where we’re at right now. So all this kicking stuff and the field goals and everything like that, we’re open. So we can use the, ‘Hey, the Cody Parkey miss.’ It’s OK. It doesn’t hurt me. It’s fine. It’s good. So you guys can say it. We’re good with it. So use it. Talk about it. It’s a healthy thing.

‘‘So we feel good about it, and we’re gonna get this thing right.’’

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