And like a shaft of sunlight cutting through thick clouds, Robbie Gould appears.
Might he return to Chicago to solve the Bears’ kicker problem?
Might he save us all from wall-to-wall coverage of whomever the Bears take with their meager picks in the NFL Draft?
Or, as I’d prefer to put it during an unexciting buildup to the Bears’ draft, maybe.
The Bears don’t have a first- or second-round pick this year, thanks, in part, to the trade that brought them superstar linebacker Khalil Mack in September. It means this draft, which begins Thursday, will be devoid of buzz. If you disagree with that assertion, if you consider the lead-in to the Bears’ pick in the third round scintillating, I would suggest some combination of therapy and medication.
For real excitement, we turn our eyes to the faint possibility that the Bears will acquire Gould, who has requested that the 49ers trade him to a team closer to his wife and children. Wait a second! His wife and children live in Chicago! The Bears are located in Chicago! The Bears need a kicker! Gould used to kick for the Bears! It’s a match made in heaven! Somehow, I think Gould was aware of all of this when he made his trade demand.
Bears fans, having watched their team’s season end in January because of Cody Parkey’s missed kick in a playoff game against the Eagles, are pining for Gould’s return. Actually, they’ve been pining for his return almost from the minute the Bears released him before the 2016 season.
I’m not sure a kicker ever has enjoyed the kind of status Gould enjoys in Chicago. He’d be a knight in shining armor here if it weren’t for the fact the suit would impede his kicking. He’s the Bears’ all-time leading scorer and has missed a total of three field-goal attempts since the Bears released him.
He remains a kicker, however. That’s his biggest obstacle in engineering a trade. Any general manager who allows a kicker to force a trade basically is donning a sandwich board that says to other players and agents, ‘‘Please walk all over me.’’ It’s surely what 49ers GM John Lynch had in mind Monday, when he told reporters, ‘‘Robbie is going to be a part of us this coming year, I know that.’’
The Bears already have to pay Parkey the $3.5 million in guaranteed money they owe him on his contract. Gould is refusing to sign the 49ers’ $5 million offer sheet for 2019. Let’s pretend for a moment the 49ers are willing to trade him. Let’s imagine he wants a two-year contract worth $9 million. It’s hard to see the Bears doling out that kind of money, in addition to what they’re paying Parkey, to a kicker. And don’t forget the draft pick they’d have to give the 49ers in a trade.
It’s a huge price in the kicker marketplace. Hard to see it happening.
A more realistic scenario would have the 49ers tiring of Gould’s stance and cutting him, the Bears low-balling him and Gould embracing the idea of being the returning hero. Still unlikely, though.
A kicker with leverage is an oxymoron. Kickers are football’s outsiders. The name of the game might include the word ‘‘foot,’’ but kickers are looked upon as lesser beings. Even if a team thinks a kicker is valuable, it’s all relative. Believing in a quarterback makes a team go all-in. Believing in a kicker makes a team root around car seats for dropped change.
So Gould with leverage? No.
There’s a perception out there that the only thing separating the Bears from the Super Bowl last season was a kicker. It’s fantasy. They were lacking in other areas, too. They didn’t have a fully developed quarterback. Going forward, they’ll go as far as Mitch Trubisky’s growth allows them.
But there’s no doubt someone who can make a field goal regularly would help. What Gould-hungry Bears fans might have going for them is the pressure GM Ryan Pace feels to get the kicker situation right. He can’t want to be known forever as the guy who released Gould and later signed Parkey, who seemed to be aiming for the goalposts rather than the space in between.
Bless Gould for turning what looked like a very boring three-day draft into something riveting. OK, you’re right. Forget riveting. We’re dealing with a kicker here. Let’s go with intriguing.
Last month, Bears coach Matt Nagy jokingly tried to correct what he said has been a mispronunciation of the surname of one of the kickers the team had signed. Of the unfortunately named Chris Blewitt, he said: ‘‘It’s French. It’s Blue-ay.’’
But on to more important matters: It’s Gold, not Goold, right?