Cairo Santos

Cairo Santos earns massive incentive money for elite field goal efficiency

The Bears kicker earned a $500,000 bonus for kicking over 90% this season

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Cairo Santos cashed in big with a $500,000 bonus his contract yielded for kicking over 90% this season.

Officially, Santos kicked 35 successful field goals this season from 38 attempts. That's kicking at a 92% clip, earning him half a million dollars in incentives.

Santos came into the Bears' final game against the Packers kicking 32-of-35 on the season. He nailed three, including a 50-yarder, at Lambeau Field. All time, Santos is now 8-of-8 kicking in Green Bay for his career.

He also earned the single-season record for most field goals made by a Bears kicker with 35. He overtook Robbie Gould (33 FGs) for that record. Santos also tied Gould for most single-season field goals over 50 yards, with nailing seven this season.

Earlier this season, Santos inked a four-year contract worth $16 million with the Bears.

The contract is a $1 million annual raise from his previous contract with the Bears (three years, $9 million) plus $9.5 million guaranteed. But that contract doesn't compete in the top-10 kicking contracts in the NFL.

There are 12 NFL kickers who make over $4 million annually and 10 kickers with more than $9.5 million guaranteed in their contracts. Santos' agent, Paul Sheehy, warned Santos he could make more money in free agency.

But Santos compromised on dollars because of his fondness for the Bears.

“I trust Paul,” Santos told Brad Biggs. “He knows me as a person, kind of what my motives are. It’s not, ‘This is my number and this is where I rank.’ We want to have a partnership with the team. The team feels like it’s a great value that I add to the team so there was no ego in that. It’s a lot of money. That’s kind of the conversation we’ve had since Wednesday (Santos signed on Friday).

“We’ve gotten to this point and Paul said, ‘It’s your decision what you want to do. Your numbers are very good. There could be more.’ I didn’t feel like I needed it. It’s a deal that made me really happy and hopefully, the team felt the same. I am thankful. Year 10 and I’ve got four more years.”

In 68 games with the Bears, Santos has buried 113-of-125 field goals and 123-of-132 extra points for a total of 447 points in Chicago. His agent was right. Santos' numbers are good. And after Cody Parkey did a disservice to the Bears' kicking numbers through 2018, the Bears don't want to go through a carousel of unreliable boots.

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