BOURBONNAIS — When Panthers backup Joey Slye made a 55-yard field goal Thursday night against the Bears, Eddy Pineiro wondered whether his coach had a wandering eye.
Pineiro knows that he and Elliott Fry are competing with each other — but also with every other potential free agent and trade target — for the Bears’ kicker job. But still, to see it in person at Soldier Field?
“That kinda sucks,” he said after the last training-camp practice Sunday at Olivet Nazarene University. “You sit there and go, ‘Damn, he just banged a 55-yarder.’
“You’re looking at the coaches and are like, ‘Oh, don’t think of anything.’ ”
The Bears haven’t yet. But there’s plenty of preseason left.
Pineiro and Fry started training camp on fire and were the feel-good story of Family Fest at Soldier Field.
They’ve cooled off since. Fry missed three kicks Sunday, and Pineiro missed two.
Pineiro finished training camp 47-for-56; Fry went 48-for-59.
“We both have gotta be better,” Fry said.
The Bears have said they wouldn’t hesitate to make a move — on waivers after cut day or via a trade — should Pineiro and Fry disappoint before Week 1.
A trade might have become the more likely option Sunday, when kicker Chandler Catanzaro retired and left the Jets with a gaping hole.
The Jets have the NFL’s third waiver position this offseason and would get their choice of waived kickers on cut day long before the Bears do at No. 24.
So a trade would seem to be the only way for the Bears to guarantee an upgrade.
Targets aren’t hard to find.
Of the six NFL kickers who scored at least 10 points in Week 1 of the preseason, three figured to lose their own kicking derby.
On Sunday afternoon, however, the Vikings reportedly traded a fifth-round pick for one of them, the Ravens’ Kaare Vedvik.
Stuck behind Justin Tucker, Vedvik made all four field goals he attempted Thursday, including a 55-yarder.
While the Bears are working the margins looking for a kicker, credit the Vikings for making a bold trade — and paying a steep price — to take the league’s top kicking trade target off the market.
Vedvik figures to replace Dan Bailey, who made 21 of 28 attempts last season. Cody Parkey’s 76.7 field-goal percentage last year was only slightly better than Bailey’s — though his last miss was a catastrophic one.
Slye went 3-for-3, including that 55-yarder, and made two extra points. He figures to lose the kicking competition to veteran Graham Gano.
The Colts’ Cole Hedlund, competing with Adam Vinatieri, who’s 46, went 3-for-4 with a long of 44.
Matt Gay, whom the Buccaneers drafted in the fifth round to compete with Cairo Santos, made a 55-yarder on his only attempt Friday.
Pineiro went 1-for-2 in the opener, hooking a 48-yarder and making a 23-yarder. Fry made the Parkey kick — 43 yards, into the north end zone, after a timeout — in his only attempt.
“It’s not just me vs. Elliott — it’s me vs. all 32 teams,” Pineiro said. “You’re competing against everybody. It’s not just us. I’m pretty sure there are other guys doing well right now. . . .
“The best thing I can do to answer that question is make all my field goals and try to do the best I can, so that won’t happen. But whatever happens, happens. I understand that it’s a business.”
Pineiro put it simply — “Do good or you’re gonna get cut,” he said — while Fry said he’s not thinking about the league’s other kickers.
“You gotta focus on what you can control,” Fry said.
“It’s one of those things where if you come in and make kicks, you shouldn’t have a problem.”
Do the Bears have a problem yet?
More than seven months after Parkey’s double-doink, their unconventional approach to finding his replacement has yet to produce an answer.
Rather than sign a veteran, they had nine kickers try out during rookie minicamp. When they weren’t pleased with the results, they traded a conditional seventh-round pick to the Raiders for Pineiro.
Earlier in the offseason, they talked to retired Colts punter Pat McAfee about kicking field goals.
McAfee told ‘‘The Dan Patrick Show” on Friday that he would’ve done it, too, had his right knee not swelled up in an airplane when he was flying home from the workout.
The team has said it wants to develop an inexpensive kicker, considering they owe $4.062 million in dead cap money because of Parkey.
Coach Matt Nagy said Pineiro and Fry will be judged by their performance in preseason games. That doesn’t make their practice struggles easier.
“We expect them to make every single kick that they kick — and if they don’t, we go back to the shoulder shrug,” Nagy said. “What’s real is that there’s not a kicker in the world who makes every single kick. So we’re just trying to balance that. And I think the true test will be in the preseason. . . .
“We’re going to have to make that decision as to where we’re at and what we want to do with them. And it’s only one preseason game, so I want to wait a little bit.”