The Chicago Bears had easily one of their craziest offseasons in recent memory. It started with a widespread belief that GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy could be fired after a disappointing end to a season that started 5-1. Team chairman George McCaskey surprised many when he chose to keep both men. From there, the agenda became obvious. They needed to find a solution at quarterback.
Pace and Nagy knew one thing. The Mitch Trubisky experiment was over. Four seasons was enough. He wasn’t the guy they’d been hoping for. Nick Foles failed to answer their prayers as well. So the brass got to work on a plan. One that would see them explore every single possibility to find a credible quarterback. They made preliminary attempts to pursue Deshaun Watson when he demanded a trade out of Houston but that went on hold when his legal issues popped up.
The real action came not long after.
That was when Russell Wilson expressed his displeasure in Seattle, even naming several teams he’d welcome a trade to. One of them being Chicago. The Bears made a strong push to deal for the All-Pro QB. It came close, but in the end Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll squashed it. After that, their entire focus shifted to the NFL draft.
This is where things got interesting. According to a source, there wasn’t a ton of optimism with this development. In fact, many in the front office including Pace didn’t believe the Bears would be able to land one of the top 5 quarterbacks on the board. They would try to make move up, but nobody thought it would end up happening. There were too many things that needed to go right.
Then everything went crazy.
Chicago Bears couldn’t believe Justin Fields fell
As things unfolded, there were few surprises early. Three quarterbacks went in quick succession at #1, #2, and #3 overall. From there the Bears played the waiting game, wondering if another team would pounce somewhere in the 4-7 range. When it didn’t happen and both Justin Fields and Mac Jones reached the 8th pick, energy really began to pick up. Pace worked the phones, trying to find a way to move up that didn’t involve completely mortgaging his team’s future.
Carolina at #8 and Denver at #9 were the first calls. The conversations were open but it didn’t take long for the Chicago Bears to realize the asking prices were too high. So they chose to pass, hoping neither team would take a QB or make a deal with somebody else. The Panthers and Broncos both went with cornerbacks. That was the decisive moment. Pace got in touch with his longtime friend Dave Gettleman, current GM of the New York Giants and asked if they could work out a deal should one of the QBs reach that spot.
When Fields got past Philadelphia at #10, the trade was made and the Ohio State star became a Bear. Despite incredibly low odds and even the pessimism of the men in charge, the Bears had managed to pull off the bold move that rejuvenated hope in the organization’s future. Another reminder that there is no predicting an NFL offseason, no matter how hard you try.