The Chicago Bears are in the playoffs. Despite everything that has transpired in a crazy past four months from a 5-1 start, to a six-game losing streak, to a three-game rally, to yet another blowout loss to the Green Bay Packers. The Bears found their way into the postseason at 8-8. So it’s easy to understand why fans have mixed emotions about this team. They also still aren’t sure what fate awaits the men at the top.
Reports have conflicted somewhat in the past 24 hours, but most insiders believe head coach Matt Nagy will return for a fourth season. He’s never had a losing record in his time with the Bears and has now made the playoffs twice. That may be a weak excuse for some given how pitiful his offenses have been up to this point but it isn’t a big surprise. Especially since Nagy has two seasons left on his contract.
GM Ryan Pace is another story.
His track record is filled with quite a few more red marks. The biggest being the selection of Mitch Trubisky #2 overall. Watching him lock horns with Aaron Rodgers on Sunday was yet another reminder of how badly Pace screwed that pick up. More recently there’s the $70 million contract he handed Robert Quinn who finished this season with two sacks. Don’t forget the trade for Nick Foles too.
Pace spent a lot of money to make this team better in 2020. Instead, they’re right back where they were at the end of 2019. An 8-8 football team. The only difference this time is an NFL rule change happened to escort them into the playoffs. Is that enough to reward Pace? It shouldn’t be. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, his fate as GM is looking shaky. Enough to where they may already have eyes on his replacement.
“Rumors have circulated in the last week that the Bears could target Kansas City Chiefs director of football operations Mike Borgonzi. This is speculation, but I heard this from two unrelated sources in the last few days, and with the Chiefs earning the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, Borgonzi wouldn’t be available to be hired away until the season is complete for the defending Super Bowl champions.”
Chicago Bears clearly have something in mind
This isn’t the first time Borgonzi’s name has come up. Back in November, I reported the man was a serious early target of research for George McCaskey. He’s been scouting and working in the Chiefs front office since 2009. When he entered a prominent role in 2015, the organization seemed to really start drafting well. Marcus Peters, Chris Jones, Tyreek Hill, and Patrick Mahomes were all acquired in a three-offseason span. That set the stage for their Super Bowl victory last season. Now the Chiefs are 14-2 and aiming to repeat.
Yet what makes him such an interesting candidate is his connection to Nagy. This speaks to a different approach the Chicago Bears are taking. Whenever they’ve fired a GM but kept the head coach in the past, the incoming GM replacement had zero connections to the incumbent coach. Jerry Angelo had no ties to Dick Jauron. Phil Emery had no ties to Lovie Smith. That would not be the case with Borgonzi and Nagy.
The two worked together for five seasons from 2013 to 2017.
Nagy was the quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator for Kansas City. They should at least have familiarity with each other. It’s possible the Bears aren’t just looking for a quality GM candidate. They’re looking for somebody who understands their head coach on a personal and professional level. Often the best partnerships in the NFL stem from familiarity. See Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane in Buffalo.
It’s not the house cleaning many want, but it’s an intriguing change in approach if this proves true.