Robbie Gould cut, Josh Sitton and Connor Barth signed

Robbie Gould cut, Josh Sitton and Connor Barth signed

The Bears did not stop the hustle on Sunday. Second-year general manager Ryan Pace made sure to improve this team no matter what it took.

Earlier in the afternoon, the team announced the waiver claims of cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc and center Eric Kush along with the signing of tight end Logan Paulsen. Cornerback Demontre Hurst, center Cornelius Edison and tight end Khari Lee were waived in corresponding moves.

Big news came at night with the release of kicker Robbie Gould (first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter) and the addition of former Packers guard Josh Sitton (first reported by Sporting News’ Alex Marvez).

Good as Gould no more

The 34-year-old Gould leaves the Bears as the team’s all-time leader in career points (1,207), field goals made (276) and career field goals of 50 plus yards. He broke Kevin Butler’s points record in Week 5 last season.

Originally signed in Oct. 2005 to take over for Doug Brien, Gould went on to play 11 seasons with the Bears as he connected on 276 of 323 field goal attempts (85.4 percent) and 379 of 383 extra points (99.0 percent). His career and franchise long of 58 came in 2013 when he made a career-best 89.7 percent of his attempts.

Gould’s replacement will be 30-year-old Connor Barth. Barth comes over after making 139 of 164 (84.8 percent) career field goals in seven seasons between Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Denver. He was let go during final cuts by New Orleans on Saturday.

Although Barth has never kicked in a game at Soldier Field, he’s a perfect 4-for-4 against the Bears. Three of those came in Tampa Bay including in Week 16 a year ago.

Gould was due a base salary of $3 million this season and Barth will earn the league minimum. Gould leaves with 12 career game-winning kicks and as the ninth-most accurate kicker in NFL history. He also was the longest tenured Bear, that title now belongs to quarterback Jay Cutler.

With Gould, it’s easier to remember how clutch he was. That will never be forgotten, not in my mind. It’s tough to see him go, but the Bears made it clear it was time to move on.

Sitton is important

Josh Sitton signed a reported three-year, $21.75 million deal with $10 million in guaranteed money. He’ll earn $7 million per season just a day after being cut by the Packers.

Sitton comes over to his former NFC North foe after starting 112 of 121 games in Green Bay including 64 straight from 2012-15. The recently turned 30-year-old has three Pro Bowls under his belt. He started his first five seasons at right guard before moving to left guard in 2013.

A 2008 fourth round pick from Central Florida, Sitton was the steadiest lineman for the Packers. They just didn’t have him in the future plans at his price, hence the release.

The Bears don’t care. They just scooped him up and placed him inside with Kyle Long forming the top guard duo in the NFL. Long earned a four-year, $40 million ($30 million guaranteed) on Saturday. The Bears dished out $40 million in guaranteed money to the two guards over the last two days.

Sitton will start at left guard next to Charles Leno Jr. while Kyle Long will remain at right guard next to Bobby Massie. The competition begins at center between veteran Ted Larsen and second-round rookie Cody Whitehair, according to the Tribune’s Brad Biggs.

Whitehair was drafted for a reason and I don’t foresee him sitting on the bench for long. He’ll thrive at center, but Larsen could start there early on as Whitehair earns snaps in practice. Whitehair is the future at center with Sitton and Long locked in together through the 2019 season.

Sitton allowed 12 total pressures, the second-fewest mark for left guards, per Pro Football Focus in 2015. PFF also had him as the sixth-highest ranked guard allowing only three sacks a year ago.

One final note about Sitton. ESPN reporter Rob Demovsky said this about the guard on Saturday: “He [Sitton] has battled injuries, most notably a chronically sore back, in recent years that have limited his ability to practice.”

However, Sitton has missed just two career starts in his eight seasons in the league.

Practice squad nearly complete

Wide receiver Daniel Braverman, cornerback De’Vante Bausby, linebacker John Timu, offensive lineman Jason Weaver, quarterback Matt Barkley, running back Senorise Perry and tight end Ben Braunecker are the seven additions to the practice squad thus far. Three more players still have to be announced.

What do you think of the Bears’ latest moves? Comment below.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button to get all the latest Bears Backer articles sent directly to your inbox.

Leave a comment