Since 1997, the Chicago Bears have always looked to the outside for whenever they seek a new general manager. It was the case with Mark Hatley, Jerry Angelo, Phil Emery, and then Ryan Pace. Many forget it wasn’t always like this. After Jim Finks departed in 1983, the Bears’ next three de factor GMs were all internal promotions. Jerry Vainisi was first, then Bill Tobin, and finally Rod Graves. So it shouldn’t be too crazy to think they might try that avenue again in 2021.
Remember that George McCaskey is a big admirer of Pace. He didn’t want to move on from the GM but felt he had no choice. That said, this doesn’t mean he has to completely tear down the front office Pace built. A good way to do this would be to promote one of his primary lieutenants. In this case Assistant Director of Player Personnel Champ Kelly. Probably the most respected man in the entire Bears front office. It shouldn’t be a surprise the team interviewed him for the GM position according to Jeff Hughes and Adam Schefter.
(Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Champ Kelly – who I believe has not been mentioned previously – are interviewing today.)
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 13, 2022
Bears’ Assistant Director of Player Personnel Champ Kelly is interviewing for Chicago’s GM job today, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 13, 2022
Kelly has been with the Bears since 2015.
He was a huge addition to their pro personnel department, playing a key role in acquisitions like Josh Sitton, Akiem Hicks, Danny Trevathan, and Prince Amukamara. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise the team’s drafting ability started improving once they promoted him to cover both the pro and college ranks in the summer of 2017. Their strong drafts since then can be attributed to his work.
Since then Kelly has been interviewed by three different teams for their GM positions. The Jets, Falcons, and Broncos. Most believe it is only a matter of time before he is running his own team. The Chicago Bears wouldn’t be doing the smart thing by at least giving him a chance to plead his case for the job. As things stand, his odds of getting it aren’t too strong. That said, don’t be surprised if the organization looks to keep him moving forward with some sort of promotion.