LAKE FOREST – To say there has been a revolving door in a figurative “kicker” room at Halas Hall would be both correct and incorrect.
Yes, since Robbie Gould was released before the 2016 season, there have a number of kickers who’ve cycled through to fill the role. From Connor Barth to Cody Parkey, the inconsistency has been a stain on Ryan Pace’s resume.
But the other guy handling the kicks for the Bears has been rather consistent in the Pace era. In fact, Pat O’Donnell has been the only one to have the postion for the Bears over the past five seasons, a year longer than the current general manager has been in Chicago.
Hence the team has reportedly made sure that this consistent piece of their special teams remains in place for the next few years.
Punter Pat O'Donnell reached an agreement with the Bears to return on a 2-year, $4 million deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 19, 2019
Per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Bears have reached a new two-year, $4 million contract to keep him in Chicago potentially for his sixth and seventh season with the franchise.
O’Donnell has had a punt in all but one game since 2014 and that’s put him near the top of the Bears’ All-Time leaders in the category. His 79 games and 358 punts with the team are tied for fourth in franchise history.
Over the last five years, O’Donnell is averaging 40.4 net yards per punt with 35.4 percent of those ending up inside the 20-yards line. Last year, the punter had a career-high 28 of his 62 punts land inside the 20-yard line, which tied his career-high set back in 2015 when he punted the ball 70 times.
He was tied for 10th in the NFL in that category.
While he has had three of his kicks blocked in five seasons – including one against the Patriots last season for a touchdown – O’Donnell has been one of the most consistent parts of special teams for the team over a period of change for the franchise.
So while the revolving door continues at kicker, at least the Bears are confident that their punter is going to be there for the next few years.