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Can Bears afford to re-sign McCown?

Posted Mar 4, 2014

Senior writer Larry Mayer discusses whether the Bears can afford to re-sign backup quarterback Josh McCown, the number of Bears players who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents and how Robbie Gould has fared from 43 yards.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Reading a recent story about Josh McCown in the Chicago Tribune, I'm becomingly increasingly worried that he will bolt the Bears to sign with another team in free agency. After giving Jay Cutler such a lucrative contract, is there enough money remaining to retain McCown?

Neil S.
Hampshire, Illinois

It's going to be interesting to see what type of interest Josh McCown draws on the free agent market. Will there be a team that wants him to start for a season or two while also grooming a young quarterback? With all things being equal, it's going to be very difficult for McCown to find a team that possesses a better offensive scheme, coaches and playmakers than the Bears. (Having followed this team for almost 40 years, there were times I thought I would never write that line!) In terms of having enough money to re-sign McCown, general manager Phil Emery said: "There's a pool of money available under our cap in each and every year, and we'll just continue to work through that and to collectively sign the best players available that we can work out through that pool, through that cap, to produce the best team possible." McCown is currently able to negotiate with the Bears, but he is not permitted to sign a multi-year deal until March 11. Beginning March 8, he can talk contract with other NFL teams as well.

I remember seeing a stat that the Super Bowl champion Seahawks had 21 players on their 53-man roster who entered the NFL as undrafted free agents. That seemed like an unusually high number to me. How many of those players did the Bears have on their roster last season?

Drew L.
Munster, Indiana

Looking at the Bears roster in last year's season finale against the Packers, 10 of their 53 players entered the NFL as undrafted free agents: Guard/center Taylor Boggs, tackle/guard James Brown, linebacker Blake Costanzo, running back Michael Ford, linebacker Jerry Franklin, kicker Robbie Gould, tackle Joe Long, receiver Eric Weems, receiver Chris Williams and safety Anthony Walters. While Gould, Costanzo, Weems, Walters and Franklin were all regular special teams contributors, none of the 10 started a game for the Bears in 2013. The other 43 players on the roster entered the NFL via the draft: four in the first round, eight in the second, six in the third, nine in the fourth, five in the fifth, six in the sixth and five in the seventh.

I read that the NFL is considering moving extra point attempts back to the 25-yard line, making them like 43-yard field goals. How has Robbie Gould fared from that distance during his career?

Alan S.
Schaumburg, Illinois

In nine seasons with the Bears, Robbie Gould has made 7 of 10 field goal attempts (70 percent) from 43 yards, including playoffs. Because that's such a small sample size, I increased the range by two yards both ways and discovered that he has been successful on 38 of 48 tries (79.2 percent) from 41-45 yards. Gould has made 86.0 percent of his attempts overall, an 86.0 percent rate that makes him the third most accurate kicker in NFL history.

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