Robbie Gould sounds interested in a Bears reunion, but there's a big obstacle in the way

Jack BaerYahoo Sports Contributor
<a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/players/7520/" data-ylk="slk:Robbie Gould">Robbie Gould</a> seems to still have plenty of love for the <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nfl/teams/chicago/" data-ylk="slk:Chicago Bears">Chicago Bears</a>. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)
Robbie Gould seems to still have plenty of love for the Chicago Bears. (Photo by Kena Krutsinger/Getty Images)

As Cody Parkey’s kick bounced off the post and onto the ground in the NFC wild card round, a tidal wave of second-guessing around the Chicago Bears’ kicker personnel decisions was unleashed.

The Bears moved on from Parkey by releasing him Friday, but a fairly important question still remained. Who’s going to be kicking field goals for the Bears next season?

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Some candidates included former Jets kicker Nick Folk, former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh and former Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis, all of whom worked out with the Bears following Parkey’s miss. The team eventually signed Redford Jones, a kicker who graduated from Tulsa in 2007 but hasn’t seen any NFL action yet.

None of those options are likely inspiring for Chicago fans, though there is one interesting possibility for Parkey’s successor: one of Parkey’s predecessors.

Robbie Gould hints he might be up for return to Bears

One of the reason Parkey’s miss stung so much for Bears fans is the team had released Gould, a perfectly good kicker, after a frustrating 2015 season only to see him blossom into one of the game’s best kickers with the San Francisco 49ers.

Gould, who is still the Bears’ all-time leader in career points (1,207) and field goals made (276), has made 82 of his 85 field goal attempts in the two and a half seasons since his tenure in Chicago ended. He is now the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, behind only the Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker. Very, very few Bears fans would have a problem with Gould’s return.

And it appears Gould wouldn’t have a problem either, judging from a story from the Associated Press:

“Once a Bear always a Bear,” he said. “I truly mean that. This is where I spent 11 years of my life playing for an awesome organization. I’ve developed a lot of great relationships throughout the city but also the organization, just like I’ve done in New York, just like I’ve done in San Francisco. Will it happen? I don’t know.”

Given that Gould’s family still lives in Chicago, the Bears would likely be a strong contender for Gould’s services if he hit free agency. However, it might take a while to get there.

49ers could prevent a Robbie Gould-Chicago reunion

Gould is set to hit free agency this offseason, and while a reunion with the Bears would be a lovely story for all involved, a major obstacle remains in the 49ers’ interest in keeping Gould aboard as they try to return to playoff contention.

The team is reportedly poised to slap the franchise tag on Gould if he won’t agree to a long-term. Per NBC Sports Bay Area, the franchise tag for kickers is expected to come in around $5 million, something the cap space-rich 49ers can easily afford.

All of that means if the Bears really want Gould and Gould really wants the Bears, they will have to wait a year to come together in all likelihood. That might be too long for a Bears team preparing to defend its NFC North title this season, especially for a kicker who will hit 37 years of age next season.

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