SM has reported a number of times over the past couple of weeks that the Chicago Bears have begun researching possible options in case they decide to move on from head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace. While neither is going to be fired during the season, it is clearer than ever that both are on the hot seat. Unless the team recovers from their rough 3-6 record? Chances are good they won’t hold onto their jobs into 2022.
With the bye week coming to a close, it appears George McCaskey and the top brass have reached some conclusions. According to a source, the team chairman has narrowed his list of potential GM candidates to a select few candidates. No more than four. While specific names are being kept close to the vest, the belief is one of them has previous GM experience and the other two or three are prominent options elsewhere around the league.
No unexpected curveballs.
Could that change? Of course. Two months remain before the season ends. That said, it is interesting to wonder who they might be looking at. In regards to the former GM, there are a number of possibilities. Rick Smith, the architect of those good Houston Texans teams from 2011 to 2019 returned to the mix after an extended absence mourning his late wife. Another name mentioned was Doug Whaley, former GM of the Buffalo Bills.
Some other possibilities? Reggie McKenzie in Miami. He was the one who drafted Khalil Mack and Derek Carr in Oakland. Dave Caldwell in Philadelphia built that ultra-talented Jacksonville team that made the 2017 AFC championship. John Dorsey in Detroit was GM in both Kansas City and Cleveland, having laid the foundations for their current successes. Last but not least is Jeff Ireland, the former Dolphins GM that has done superb work in New Orleans as their assistant GM since 2017.
Chicago Bears know this decision is going to be a big one
This is because for the first time in many years it looks like they may finally have a quarterback. Justin Fields has shown significant improvement over the past month, capped with his coming-out party in Pittsburgh. Experts can see not only the talent but also the rapid maturation. The belief now is that if the Bears can find him more help in terms of protection, weaponry, and coaching? They’ll be contenders in the not-too-distant future.
That is what makes the decision at GM so vital. Do the Chicago Bears trust Pace to accomplish this? While he is the one who drafted Fields, he also hasn’t done the best job building the offense since he took over in 2015. The unit has never ranked higher than 15th in the league during his tenure. Most of the time it’s been in the low to high 20s and is currently 31st.
That is a key part of the decision that won’t be ignored.
Not to mention the fact Nagy was his hire back in 2018. Is McCaskey prepared to trust him with such a choice again? Clarity on all of this won’t really start to come out until around mid-November. By that point, the Bears will most likely be out of the playoff race. If the offense continues its inconsistency, not even Fields’ development may be enough to save him.