The Bears on Monday signed Robbie Gould to the most lucrative contract for a kicker in NFL history according to his agent, Brian Mackler.
The five-year, $15 million contract extension – including incentives – exceeds the five-year, $14.2 million deal that Josh Brown signed with the Rams two months ago and includes a slightly higher signing bonus ($4.2 million) than the $4 million the St. Louis kicker received.
"It was an offer I couldn't pass up," said the 26-year-old Gould. "It's the right contract. It's fair for both sides. It's a win-win situation. Josh Brown's contract helped a great deal by setting the standard and some parameters. I'm very happy he got his done. It helped me."
Gould, who is entering the final year of his original contract at a base pay of $520,000, is now signed through 2013. He is the Bears' all-time field goal percentage leader among kickers with at least 50 attempts, connecting on 84.8 percent of his kicks (84 of 99). He has also been successful on 99 of 100 extra-point conversions.
Gould is, thus far, one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, although he needs 100 field-goal attempts to officially qualify among the leaders. If he makes his first kick in 2008, he will be the third-most accurate kicker in league history.
"One thing I've always tried to do is be consistent," he said. "The only way I could keep a job here is by being consistent."
K Robbie Gould
Rusty Kennedy/AP Images
Gould says the money won't change him as a player.
"Every year I want to be the best kicker in the NFL, and this won't stop me from working to do that," Gould said. "It won't stop me from being a competitor. I want to continue to be more consistent on field goals and get my kickoffs longer. I want to make every field goal. I want to let my teammates know they can count on me."
Gould owns Bears records with 26 straight field goals from Dec. 25, 2005-Nov. 19, 2006 and 22 straight games with a field goal from Oct. 23, 2005-Nov. 6, 2006. Last season, he hit 31 of 36 field goal attempts (86.1 percent). A year earlier, he was voted to the Pro Bowl and named a first-team All-Pro after finishing second in the NFL in scoring and first among kickers with 143 points, converting 32 of 36 (88.9 percent) field goal goal attempts and all 47 PATs.
In the sometimes-inclement Chicago weather, Gould has converted 39 of 45 FG attempts (86.7 percent), the highest accuracy all-time among NFL kickers with at least 20 attempts at the stadium. Gould has hit five game-winning field goals, including a 49-yarder in overtime of the 2006 NFC divisional playoff against the Seahawks.
The 6-0, 183-pounder was signed by the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Penn State in 2005 but released. He then spent time with the Ravens, where he was also released. In an October tryout with the Bears later that season, Gould outperformed several contenders and went on to hit 21 of 27 FG attempts as a rookie. When he was summoned for the Bears tryout, Gould was working as a laborer for a construction company owned by a family friend near his home in Pennsylvania.
"It was supposed to be a week-to-week deal," Gould said, "and now it's turned out to be a long-term thing."
"As for other players, I don't know their situations," Gould said. "I can't worry about my teammates. There's a pecking order. If I didn't get this done this year, maybe I'd have to wait until next year. But eventually I knew someone's going to pay me."
NEWS & NOTES
"Kellen Davis has been good two days in a row," Smith said at the end of the rookie minicamp in early May. "We wouldn't bring any guys in unless we felt good about them being a good part and a big part of our team, fitting in and all that. We haven't seen any [problems]."
The 6-7, 262-pound Davis is a virtual lock to replace free-agency loss John Gilmore as the No. 3 tight end, as long as he shows more willingness to use his excellent size and athleticism as a blocker than he did in college.
WR Earl Bennett
Warren Wimmer Photography
"When I first came out, I was a little nervous, jittery," said the all-time leading receiver in the Southeastern Conference. "I'm playing at the biggest stage right now, my first practice. But overall, I think I came out and did OK. Any time a ball hits my hands, I consider it a drop. So I dropped a couple. But I'll just try to make it up and catch the next ball that comes to me."
Smith said he expected some nervousness from all the rookies.
"They know that this is the most important job interview they've ever had," he said, "and they know what's at stake."
Still, the SIU lefty had his moments.
"He looked smooth," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "We sent him some stuff earlier in the week, and it was evident that he studied it, that he got into the playbook a little bit. He had a pretty good grasp of stuff."
"It doesn't matter where you're drafted," said Harrison, whose mother, Michelle Harrison, is from Chicago. "It just matters what you do when you get out there."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"He has excellent speed. He has good size. He can make you miss. All the things you look for in a good running back, he has." – Head coach Lovie Smith on rookie running back Matt Forte
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