The Chicago Bears signed kicker Cody Parkey to a four-year contract in March hoping he would give them the consistency they have lacked ever since they let Robbie Gould go.
That didn’t happen. And now, Parkey is out.
A person familiar with the situation said Friday the NFC North champions have decided to release the embattled kicker after one season. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the move had not been announced. The NFL Network first reported the decision.
Parkey made 23 of 30 field goals during the regular season for the third-lowest conversion rate in the NFL. He was 42 of 45 on extra points.
Six of his misses, counting the playoffs, hit uprights, including a 43-yard attempt in the closing seconds of the Bears’ wild-card loss to Philadelphia at Soldier Field that also ricocheted off the crossbar.
Parkey’s appearance on the “Today” show a few days later helped erase any remaining doubts about his future in Chicago. It clearly did not sit well with the Bears’ hierarchy.
“We always talk about a ‘we’ and not a ‘me’ thing, and we always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team,” coach Matt Nagy said in January. “You know, I just, I didn’t necessarily think that that was too much of a ‘we’ thing.”
Parkey also nailed uprights four times while missing two field goals and two extra points in a victory over Detroit at Soldier Field on Nov. 11. He hit one on a missed PAT at Minnesota in the regular-season finale.
In October, Parkey missed wide right on a potential winning 53-yarder in overtime at Miami. Jason Sanders then kicked a 47-yard field goal as time expired in OT to lift the Dolphins to a 31-28 victory.
The Bears have struggled in the kicking game since they let Gould — their career scoring leader — go just before the start of the 2016 season. In the three years since then, Chicago has converted 57 of 75 field goals.
Gould is set to become a free agent March 13. There has been speculation in Chicago about a reunion with the Bears after spending one season with the New York Giants and the past two with San Francisco.
Gould’s wife is from the Chicago area, and they still live there with their three young sons.
The kicking game was one of the few sore spots in the Bears’ breakout season. They went 12-4 to win the division in their first year under Nagy after four straight last-place finishes.