By Dan Bernstein–
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) We speculated even in the middle of the 2015 season that Robbie Gould’s time with the Bears could be nearing an end, watching his ability decline as his price tag increased.
Set to be the game’s most expensive place-kicker in 2016, Gould was instead released by the Bears in notably unceremonious fashion, as they dumped him late Sunday night in a favor of journeyman Connor Barth after he was cut by the Saints. General manager Ryan Pace and coach John Fox framed the decision as a chance to immediately improve the position as soon as Barth became available, but there has to be more.
This was yet another case of Fox preferring to move on from an established veteran with whom he never quite connected, nor entirely trusted, sources told 670 The Score. Gould’s end-of-game misses last year against San Francisco and Washington — both noted in the story on the team website — and a subpar performance in training camp contributed to the decision, but the team’s tone seemed less than befitting a franchise’s all-time scoring leader who was so active and present in the community.
So it would seem that all they were waiting for was confirmation of the availability of a preferred alternative.
Also bizarre was the late flip-flop on the long snapper position, with the Bears seemingly settling on Aaron Brewer as the winner of the competition with Patrick Scales. On Monday morning, however, they abruptly reversed course to re-sign Scales and waive Brewer. That this happened after the Gould release can’t be merely coincidence, and Pace’s explanation was curious.
“There are things going on all the time,” he said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
The rest of us will pick up where he leaves off, then, still trying to determine how and why this Bears brain trust does what it does.