The Bears officially signed free agent kicker Cairo Santos, a move that head coach Matt Nagy discussed Sunday.
The team wants a second kicker in the age of coronavirus. More NFL teams might do the same in 2020. If incumbent starting kicker Eddy Pineiro were to become sick a day or two before a game, the team would have a backup plan at the position.
“That position, knowing kind of where the COVID testing is right now, we all feel it’s very important that you have somebody that can come in if something was to happen to Eddy,” Nagy said Sunday.
Nagy called this the “year of the contingency plan” on Sunday, the same day the team had to exercise a contingency plan after nine coronavirus tests within the organization returned false positives. Everyone was healthy, but practice did have to be delayed a few hours.
Pineiro is dealing with a groin injury, the severity of which is unclear. Pineiro has yet to kick in team situations through the first week of training camp. Nagy is not overly worried about the groin injury.
“I don’t like to make a big deal out of it, but I guess maybe I should,” Nagy said.
Santos played in two games for the Bears in 2017 before he suffered a groin injury and went on injured reserve. He went 1 of 2 on field goal attempts and 2 of 2 on extra points during his brief stint.
Pineiro won the much-discussed kicking job last season. He made 82.1% of his field goal attempts in 2019, but was only 3 of 7 on field goal attempts between 40 and 49 yards. He went 2 for 2 on attempts from 50 yards and beyond.
It’s fair to assume the Bears will try to keep both kickers, given the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19.
“In regards to Cairo, I’m excited to get him in here and now we feel more confident with [kicker],” Nagy said Sunday.
The Bears also signed receiver Alex Wesley on Tuesday. Wesley was added to the Bears practice squad in December last year. The team cut him on July 28, just prior to training camp.
In coordinating moves, the team placed tight end Darion Clark on injured reserve. Clark injured his shoulder last week and will be out for the season. The team also released receiver Trevor Davis, who had signed a one-year deal with the team as a free agent in April.
Following the moves, the Bears’ 80-man training camp roster is full.