Monday, January 24, 2022

Chicago Bears Revisiting A GM Option From Back In 2015


Two competing storylines continue to surround the Chicago Bears and GM Ryan Pace. One is that the McCaskey family may seek a way to keep him in place. Another is that they’ve quietly been vetting alternatives. The reality is both of these can be true. If what some insiders have said this past week are accurate and Pace is “reassigned” to another position in the organization, then it means the same exact thing as if he were fired. The team will end up hiring a new GM.

Already a few names have popped up for the job. Jeff Ireland in New Orleans. Ed Dodds in Indianapolis. Lake Dawson in Buffalo. What makes that last name interesting is the Bears actually interviewed Dawson back in 2015 for their GM position. Now it seems he isn’t the only one. Another name has surfaced on their vetting list. That is Brian Gaine. A senior personnel executive in Buffalo and former Houston Texans GM.

The man is respected in NFL circles for his talent evaluation skill.

That began as assistant college scouting director in Dallas from 2005 to 2007. From there he went to Miami where he climbed the ranks as assistant director of player personnel in 2008 to assistant GM by 2012. His ascent continued as assistant GM from 2014 to 2016 in Houston before heading to Buffalo in 2017 to become their vice president of player personnel. A year later, the Texans brought him back to replace Rick Smith as GM.

Sadly he only got one season on the job, getting shown the door by the summer of 2019. It became clear soon after he’d been caught up in a nasty power struggle following the death of owner Bob McNair. Buffalo brought him back as a senior personnel executive and he has remained there since then. No doubt some in the industry wonder if he deserves a fair shot at the job again. The Bears are one such team.

Chicago Bears have good reasons to explore Gaine

His track record is pretty solid up to this point. From 2005 to 2017 during his various stints in Dallas, Miami, Houston, and Buffalo he had a hand in drafting no fewer than 17 eventual Pro Bowl players. Not to mention several other eventual starters. It’s fair to wonder how different things might’ve been in Houston had he gotten more time. Not to mention a better setup. His first draft saw him without both 1st and 2nd round picks due to trades by the previous regime. By the time his second came around, new ownership had already begun planning to move on.

So people never got to see Gaine operate as a true GM. Somebody hoping to create his own vision for the franchise. The Chicago Bears might offer him that opportunity. Their situation is much more stable with an ownership that is known for its patience. His background is hard to dispute. The man always seems to help find good players. If he can deliver a quality head coach, then the organization would be a great shape moving forward.

As always, it comes down to George McCaskey.

Nobody knows what he is going to do come Black Monday. Some are convinced he’ll fire Pace and wipe the slate clean. Others think he will resist that idea and settle for hiring a new coach. If Pace is indeed out, then Gaine figures to be one of the guys getting an interview in the near future.

Erik Lambert
Educated to be a writer at the prestigious Columbia College in Chicago, Erik has spent the past 10 years covering the Bears.

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