George McCaskey made an unpopular decision when he decided to keep GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy. He feels both men are growing into their roles still. They’re men of character and leaders. Chicago Bears ownership is hoping to keep them in charge long-term. However, they also know the NFL is a results-based business. That is why 2021 is being viewed as sort of the last stand for both men.
After back-to-back finishes of 8-8, expectations are clear. McCaskey said he needs to see “progress” in order to justify them getting contract extensions. That means a better record, making the playoffs, and maybe winning a playoff game as well. In order to do that? The Bears are going to need a quarterback. Pace’s biggest move thus far towards that end is signing Andy Dalton to a one-year deal.
The same Dalton who backed up Dak Prescott last year.
Not exactly a move that is going to generate excitement about the upcoming season. This is why many still believe some sort of big move is coming at the position. Maybe a blockbuster deal for Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson. Maybe trading up for a top prospect in the draft. Pace and Nagy certainly seem desperate enough to pull something like that off.
Except it might not be that simple. A source reached out to me with an interesting bit of information. It seems McCaskey isn’t on board with the idea of taking a quarterback early in the draft. Especially if it involves trading away more picks to get him. It’s been made pretty clear that Pace and Nagy aren’t going to buy themselves more time if they did it either. So they better be sure they’re getting the right guy if they were to end up taking one.
Bears ownership appears to have put a leash on Pace
What does that mean? In essence, there will be no reckless moves this offseason. No crazy trades for non-proven players and no huge contracts to veteran free agents. If Wilson or Watson are possible? That is different. Otherwise, the GM will have to make a strong case for any bold moves before being allowed to make them. That is the general sense coming out of Halas Hall with a month to go before the draft.
It shouldn’t be a surprise George McCaskey reached this point. A series of reckless decisions by Pace got the Bears into this mess. His aggressive trades to get Mitch Trubisky and Anthony Miller. His ill-advised signing of Robert Quinn. Bears ownership may feel a need to reign him in. Force him to operate on a tighter budget for his own good.
If Pace wants to do it anyway?
He does it under the knowledge that simply drafting a quarterback early isn’t going to save his job. McCaskey expects this team to win in 2021. That is the standard. Not a young QB coming in and playing well late in another lost season. It’s about winning. If they feel they can do both? Fine. Just be prepared for the consequences if they fail.