Head coach Matt Nagy expressed disapproval on Monday with Parkey’s decision to appear as a guest on a network morning show a mere five days after he missed a potentially game-winning 43-yard field goal attempt in Chicago’s 16-15 playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“For me, you understand that we always talk about a ‘we’ and not a ‘me’ thing,” Nagy said at the team’s season-ending news conference. “We always talk as a team, we win as a team, we lose as a team. You know, I just, I didn’t necessarily think that that was too much of a ‘we’ thing.”
“Again, I didn’t think it was a ‘we’ thing.”
Parkey briefly spoke to reporters at his locker in the immediate aftermath of Chicago’s postseason defeat but left the team facility the next day before the club’s scheduled media availability.
Nagy said he conducted a standard exit interview with Parkey when the season ended, but that the kicker never discussed the prospect of going on national television later in the week.
Parkey fell short of expectations during his first year with the Bears.
Chicago signed the veteran kicker in free agency to a contract that included $9 million in guaranteed money, but Parkey missed 11 total kicks (eight field goals, three extra points) for the Bears, including the ill-fated last-second attempt against the Eagles that bounced off the left upright and hit the crossbar.
The NFL later credited Philadelphia with a blocked field goal after slow-motion replays revealed that Parkey’s kick was slightly tipped at the line of scrimmage.
“You’re never going to bat a thousand [in free agency],” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said. “I know Cody wishes he had a better season. We wish he had a better season, too. We’ve just got to evaluate that now. You’ve got to be honest with yourselves in these. I think as we go forward, that’s when we’ve got to be real and say, hey, that’s an important position for us. It’s a position of emphasis.
“We want more production out of that position and we’re going to get that. We’re going to strive for that. That’s going to be an area of focus. Our goal, of course, is to hit on every draft pick and every UFA. But that’s just not reality. Sometimes when that doesn’t happen, you have to self-reflect and be honest and then improve it going forward.”
At the minimum, Pace said the Bears will have a kicker competition in 2019, if not an outright change.
“That’s going to be an emphasis and focus for us, the kicker position, and there’ll definitely be competition there,” Pace said.
Chicago will have to carry $4,437,500 worth of dead salary-cap money if it cuts Parkey.
“We talk about those things [the financial ramifications], but the most important thing is performance,” Pace said.
Parkey, 26, kicked for the Browns, Eagles and Dolphins before the Bears.
Chicago has been unable to stabilize the kicker position since it released Robbie Gould prior to the 2016 season. Gould went on to make 82 of 85 field goal attempts for the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers and is a free agent. However, the 49ers are likely to try to sign him to a long-term deal or use the franchise tag to keep him in the Bay Area for 2019 and beyond.