The rumors surrounding the Chicago Bears have been interesting the past few weeks. One of the most intriguing is regarding their power structure. Recent reports from multiple outlets including Jeremy Fowler of ESPN believe head coach Matt Nagy should return in 2021 barring something unexpected. What’s been surprisingly quiet is what George McCaskey might have planned for the upper front office.
This means GM Ryan Pace and maybe even team president Ted Phillips. Pace’s seat was hot coming into 2020. It’s only gotten worse since then. He was under the gun for his drafting of Mitch Trubisky in 2017. A move that looks worse and worse the greater Patrick Mahomes becomes. Things haven’t gotten much better as big-ticket acquisitions Nick Foles and Robert Quinn have both flopped. With only one year left on his contract, his only remaining hope could be the Bears making the playoffs.
Phillips might be a more interesting topic.
He’s had an iron grip on the title of team president for Chicago since 1999. During that time, the Bears have made the postseason just five times. No Lombardi trophies. No franchise quarterbacks. At age 63, David Kaplan of ESPN was told there is a growing possibility Phillips considers retirement after this season.
This might explain another rumor floating out there. One that involves McCaskey planning a tweak to the power structure. A source informed SM that the Bears chairman is giving serious consideration to installing a President of Football Operations. Somebody who would have direct access to himself and the rest of ownership. The key term used was a “football guy” is what McCaskey seeks.
George McCaskey could be seeking a modern approach
If Phillips steps down, it appears the idea would be to basically split his job in two. The football operations would go to one person and the business operations would go to another. Both would answer directly to McCaskey himself. This way too much power and influence isn’t concentrated in one man. Especially when that man isn’t qualified for several of those responsibilities.
As to who can fill such a position? That is pure speculation at this point. There are several names around the league who would be strong targets. Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio? Steelers VP of football and business administration Omar Khan? Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay? Packers co-director of player personnel Jon-Eric Sullivan?
The list can get fairly extensive.
Whether George McCaskey follows through on this plan remains to be seen. He’s been known to change his mind quite frequently. One can imagine the pivotal game against Green Bay on Sunday could go a fair distance in determining a lot of futures. One can imagine he wouldn’t be thrilled seeing his team get swept by the Packers yet again.
This is another reason Phillips and Pace are in hot water. Playing second fiddle to the biggest rival for over half a decade is hard to swallow for somebody who has followed the team since he was a child. Enough to where sweeping changes at the top might look appealing.