The Bears’ addition of kicker Cody Parkey would reunite him with special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, who held that title in Cleveland for the previous seven seasons, including in 2016, when Parkey hit 20 of 25 FG attempts (80 percent) and 20 of 21 extra-point tries for the Browns.
The deal for the four-year veteran won’t become official until the start of free agency at 3 p.m. (Chicago time) on Wednesday, although the two sides were working to finalize details.
More important than the reunion, at least for the Bears, is the hope that the 26-year-old Parkey can bring some consistency to a position that has been in flux since the ill-advised release of Robbie Gould prior to the 2016 season.
Parkey has hit 86.4 percent of his career FG attempts (76 of 88), and he went 21-for-23 (91.3 percent) last year for the Miami Dolphins. As a rookie with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, Parkey connected on 32 of 36 field-goal attempts (88.9 percent), all 54 PATs and was voted to the Pro Bowl.
Since moving on from Gould, the the Bears have employed four kickers, including three last season when the team was 29th in FG percentage, converting just 16 of 22 attempts (72.7 percent). In 11 years with the Bears, Gould became the leading scorer in franchise history with 1,207 points and the team’s all-time leader in FG accuracy by a huge margin, connecting on 85.4 of his kicks.
Connor Barth replaced Gould in 2016 and made 18-for-23 (78.3 percent) of his field-goal attempts. But he was waived last year after missing five of 16 attempts (68.8 percent).
Cairo Santos was signed and went 1-for-2 on FG attempts and 2-for-2 on PATs before reinjuring a groin that led to his release by the Chiefs earlier in the season, and he wound up on injured reserve. Mike Nugent was brought in and played the final four games, hitting all four FG attempts but missing two of nine extra points. Santos and Nugent are both unrestricted free agents.
Since being banished by the Bears, Gould has made 49 of 51 FG attempts (96.1 percent), for the New York Giants in 2016 and San Francisco last year. With the 49ers, Gould had an NFL-best 39 field goals on 41 attempts in 2017.
The Bears are expected to lose versatile linebacker Christian Jones, who plans to sign a two-year, $7.75 million deal with the Detroit Lions when free agency officially begins Wednesday.
Although he went undrafted out of Florida State in 2014, Jones started 31 games for the Bears in his four seasons, playing inside and outside. He started 11 games last year, nine at inside linebacker and two outside, and finished second on the team with 84 tackles. Jones started 13 games in 2015 and was second on the Bears with 98 tackles.