Over the past week, word has trickled out of Halas Hall that the Chicago Bears top brass has begun conducting preliminary research on potential candidates for head coach. A surefire sign that Matt Nagy is likely gone at the end of the regular season. Barring a massive turnaround in the next two months of course. The bigger question lingering in the background is what happens to GM Ryan Pace?
He is the one who hired Nagy and has direct responsibility for this team being 3-5 and boasting the second-oldest roster in the NFL. The Bears have had just one winning season during his tenure since 2015. That isn’t a great look for the guy. Especially when some of his biggest moves contributed to the failure. Drafting Mitch Trubisky and hiring Nagy are the two that stand out. Rumors persist the McCaskey family still likes Pace, but they also seem to know that keeping him in charge would be dangerous.
It appears they might be making plans for a change there as well.
A source informed SM this week that the Bears have begun researching possible new GMs as well. Their early efforts are focusing on names that are already available. Men with previous GM experience. Preferably that had some success. One name was mentioned? Former Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley. This is an interesting one. Whaley was in charge of that organization from 2013 through the spring of 2017. After being dismissed in favor of Brandon Beane, he became the vice president of football operations for the XFL.
His work in Buffalo can best be called solid but incomplete. He joined the organization as their assistant GM in 2010 before being promoted three years later. His work in the draft led to some impressive results.
- C.J. Spiller
- Marcell Dareus
- Stephon Gilmore
- Robert Woods
- Sammy Watkins
- Ronald Darby
- Tre’Davious White
- Dion Dawkins
- Matt Milano
His big failure came at the quarterback position, selecting E.J. Manuel in the 1st round of the 2013 draft. That ended up going poorly and the team never quite got past the 7-9 or 8-8 mark during his final three seasons with the team. It’s ironic his final draft went a long way towards laying the foundation for Buffalo’s current success.
Tre’Davious White. One of the most underrated players in the league. pic.twitter.com/4T0uRWScMa
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) December 16, 2019
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) October 1, 2021
Chicago Bears likely to cast net wider if team keeps floundering
It must be made clear that nothing is set in stone yet. Pace is not 100% gone. At least not when compared to Nagy. His situation is a little more fluid. Much of it may depend on how several of his recent draft picks perform. In that regard, he should feel optimistic. Justin Fields had his best game yet vs. San Francisco. Khalil Herbert has looked like a legitimate find in the 6th round as well. If Larry Borom continues to improve in the coming weeks and some of the 2020 class also excel?
Perhaps the Chicago Bears might consider keeping Pace in charge. Would they give him say in the head coaching hire? They would almost have to. The last thing they’d want is having a head coach who feels like he doesn’t answer to the GM. That rarely works out. This is why the likelihood seems stronger that both men will be fired after the season concludes.
It sounds like Whaley is among the first possible options they’ll consider.
There will be others. Former Houston Texans GM Rick Smith figures to be one. The same with Dallas Cowboys VP of Player Personnel Will McClay. From there it comes down to finding the best fit and hoping McCaskey can get it right this time.