It is possible — likely, even — that either Eddy Pineiro or Elliott Fry will be the Bears placekicker on opening night against the Packers, and it’s equally reasonable to project that one or both will go on to very successful NFL careers.It is also reasonable to assume that Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor are happy with their two kickers and confident that one of them will be the answer.
But that hasn’t stopped the Bears from shopping for more options.
Multiple outlets have reported that the Bears were involved in discussions with the Baltimore Ravens for the team’s now-former backup to Justin Tucker, Kaare Vedvik, who was traded to the Vikings last weekend for a fifth-round draft choice.
But sources close to both the Vikings and Ravens have confirmed to Pro Football Weekly that of the five teams the Ravens talked to about Vedvik, it was the Bears who were the most aggressive and were left disappointed in their inability to get a deal done.
The New York Jets and Green Bay Packers were two of the other teams involved, but we have been unable to confirm the fifth.
According to our sources, the Jets and Bears had discussed deals with the Ravens before the Packers became a surprise addition to the marketplace, and knowing how tight the NFC North may be, and that the Vikings also had a real need, the Ravens decided to reach out to Minnesota to try and up the ante.
Our sources tell us that the Bears had proposed a deal for a conditional fifth-round pick — with the conditions being near certain to be met — and with that as the bar, the Vikings offered the non-conditional fifth round pick that sealed the deal.
According to our sources, the Bears were not given the opportunity to counter the Vikings offer, so it is unclear whether they were prepared to go higher than the conditional fifth round pick.
Vedvik has been one of the most sought-after kickers on the market with the Ravens also having the NFL’s best kicker in Justin Tucker, and his 4-for-4 field goal performance from 55, 45, 26 and 29 yards and 2-for-2 success on extra points in the Ravens first preseason game last week against the Jaguars clearly set the market on fire.
Bears fans should not despair yet — like Pineiro and Fry, Vedvik has never kicked in an NFL game, having spent last season on the Ravens reserve/non-football injury list after he was assaulted before the start of the season, and he was not anywhere near the kicker in college that the Bears two prospects were.
In four years at Marshall, Vedvik punted his last two seasons but did not claim the placekicking job until his final year and he was just 10-of-16, 62.5% on field goals, although a much more respectable 41-42 on college distance extra points.
In two seasons at Florida, Pineiro was 21-for-25 and 17-for-18, 88.4 % and 56-for-58 on extra points, while Fry kicked all four seasons he was at South Carolina and was 66-of-88, 75% on field goals and 161-of-162 on extra points.
Pineiro and Fry are both listed at 6-0, 185, while Vedvik is a much bigger man at 6-4, 207.
Vedvik has shown a huge leg both punting and placekicking, due in part we assume to his exceptional stature for a placekicker, but Pineiro not only has the bigger leg of the Bears’ two prospects, his much more significant experience has shown he may have every bit as big a leg as Vedvik.
And Fry has demonstrated better accuracy than Vedvik as well.
That Pace is clearly pulling out all the stops to create as much competition at the position as possible should provide additional comfort for Bears fans, and this episode will certainly add more drama and intrigue to the six games to be played among the Bears, Vikings and Packers this year.
Stay tuned, as the Bears and Vikings will meet in the final game of the season, and won’t it be interesting if the game — and possibly the NFC North title — comes down to a kick from one of these three?