Bears Kicker Fight
By Benjy Lipsman in News on May 13, 2005 10:40PM
Kickers are the Rodney Dangerfield of any NFL team. They never get any respect when they're doing their job, and the instant they fuck up their job's in jeopardy. That's the situation that the Bears' Paul Edinger finds himself in now as the Bears have signed former NY Jets kicker Doug Brien, who himself was out of a job in part because a couple missed kicks in the playoffs overshadowed his stellar career numbers.
One of the NFL's more accurate kickers for a time, he has slumped over the past season and a half. The Bears all-time most accurate kicker entering last season at 77.9%, he made only 15 of 24 field goal attempts last year (62.5%).
Meanwhile, Brien made 24 of 29 (82.8%) kicks last year and ranks among the NFL's top 10 all-time in career kicking accuracy. But the Jets used their 2nd round draft pick on Ohio State kicker Mike Nugent -- the highest a kicker has been drafted since 2000. That was a sure sign that Brien's days with the Jets were done regardless of how well he performed last year. So the Bears jumped at the chance to sign him and bring him to camp. (It's not like they've got any playoff games for him to blow coming up anyway!)
However, Brien won't be the only competition for Edinger's job in camp. The Bears also have invited undrafted free agents Tyler Jones from Boise State and Nick Novak from Maryland to camp, too. Edinger wants no part of a "kick-off" for the job. His agent demanded that the Bears release him so that he can try to hook on elsewhere in the league.
Chicagoist thinks the Bears should honor Edinger's request and let him go. He's slated to make more money than Brien despite weaker numbers over the past two seasons. The Bears can save salary cap room and improve at the kicker position. Do the Bears really gain anything by staging a big competition for the position? Are they selling the rights to the "kick off" for a reality show? There is the potential for the closest thing the NFL will ever see to a cat fight! So Fox is probably all over that... But really, it seems that Edinger's out of a job sometime between now and the start of the season, so let him move on and try to find work elsewhere. If he can't find another NFL job, there's might be opportunities at Costco.