When NFL free agency opened in March, most of the top free agents were scooped up pretty quickly, but that's not the case at kicker. After just over one month of free agency, there are still several good kickers left on the market, including Robbie Gould, who currently stands as the eighth-most accurate kicker in NFL history.
One reason Gould is still available is because he's being picky about his next team. After spending the past six seasons in San Francisco, Gould let the 49ers know that this year. One team Gould would definitely be interested in playing for is the Chicago Bears.
The 40-year-old spent the first 11 seasons of his career in Chicago before being unceremoniously dumped following the 2015 season. Gould still lives in Chicago and if the Bears are interested in reuniting with him, the kicker said he'd return to the team in a "heartbeat."
"If they called and said, 'Hey, we want you to play for us,' I'd do it in a heartbeat," Gould said this week during an interview with NFL.com.
Although Gould has made it pretty clear that he'd love to sign with the Bears, the feeling doesn't appear to be mutual. If the Bears haven't called him yet -- and it appears they haven't -- that's likely because they're happy with their current kicking situation.
For the past three seasons Cairo Santos has been holding down the Bears' kicking job and over that span he's hit 90.6% of his field goals (77 of 85). In 2022, Santos went 21 of 23 and it's hard to blame either of those two misses on him: One was blocked and one was from 56 yards out.
Chicago had one of the worst kicking situations in the NFL from 2016 through 2019, but with Santos in the fold, the Bears finally have someone they can rely on again and it appears they don't want to take any chances by moving on from him.
With Chicago likely out of the picture, Gould said he'll be looking for two things in a potential team for 2023: He wants to play near his Chicago home and he wants to play for a winner.
"Obviously I want to play closer to home, that's one of the big things that's meant a lot to me, and we're filtering through those opportunities, and waiting for the right time to be able to do that," Gould said. "I'd love to win if possible, so I'm kind of being a little picky with that, but at 40 years old and playing 18 years in the league, I think I've earned the ability to do that."
Gould has also earned the right to be picky because he's one of the best postseason kickers in NFL history. From an accuracy standpoint, there's no one better. Gould has attempted 29 postseason field goals in his career and he's made all 29 of them, which is the NFL record for most playoff field goals without a miss. To put that in perspective, only four kickers in NFL history, including Gould, have even made 15 playoff field goals without a miss (Evan McPherson, Chris Boswell and Jake Elliott are the others).
There's a good chance that Gould will get to add to that streak in 2023 and that's because he wants to play for a contender.
"Well first, I want to win a Super Bowl, obviously that means a lot to me," Gould said of why he still wants to keep playing after 18 seasons. "And secondly, it comes down to wanting to be able to score 2,000 points, maybe hit 500 field goals, and ultimately just win."
There are several teams that will likely be looking to add kicker in the next month, including the Cowboys, Rams, Packers, Titans and Buccaneers. If Gould wants to play for a contender, the Cowboys probably make the most sense and that's also the team that should be banging down Gould's door to sign him. Remember, the last time we saw the Cowboys on the field, their kicker (Brett Maher) was going through one of the worst meltdowns in NFL postseason history. He went just 1-for-6 on extra points in the playoffs, including a span where he missed four straight in the wild card round.
Although the Cowboys and several other teams still need a kicker, they'll likely see what they can do during the draft before they look to sign Gould, which means the eighth-most accurate kicker in NFL history will likely remain a free agent into May.