Wednesday, December 1, 2021

A Front Office Middle Ground The Chicago Bears Are Considering


By now rumors have truly begun swirling that the Chicago Bears may be approaching a shakeup in their power structure when the 2021 season concludes. At 3-6, their prospects of making the playoffs are remote. Barring a major second-half turnaround, they will post their eighth non-winning season in nine years. This is why head coach Matt Nagy is almost certainly gone. That and his ongoing problems with fixing the offense. So what about GM Ryan Pace?

He is not what anybody would call safe either. A byproduct of mostly mediocre-to-bad seasons during his tenure. However, his status is somewhat muddier. This is due to his recent string of decent drafts as well as his strong relationship with the McCaskey family. Make no mistake. Pace is well-liked inside that building. While ownership is open to making a change, they aren’t happy about it.

That might explain why they’re looking for a middle ground.

David Kaplan of ESPN stated recently that there is a strong possibility George McCaskey considers kicking Pace upstairs. In other words, promote him to a high position of authority in the organization but take away his final say on roster construction. At the same time, the team will install somebody new as GM. One name that is being considered according to a source? Assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise. Kelly is a well-respected talent evaluator. Not just inside Halas Hall but around the NFL too. Multiple teams have interviewed him for their GM positions the past couple of offseasons. Promoting him into Pace’s spot would create as little of a ripple in the organization as possible while giving the reins over to a fresh voice. Somebody who is ready for his shot.

Chicago Bears will explore other options first

Let it be understood. It was made clear that a Pace-Kelly combination is not considered the likely course of action by the Bears at this time. The best way to describe it is a backup plan. Something they’re willing to do if other options on the table don’t materialize. Kelly is well-respected in that organization and there are no concerns about the idea of him taking over. This is more about wanting to get a true outside voice. Somebody with a different perspective from others in the building.

As stated in previous articles, the Chicago Bears have continued conducting research on possible candidates. No moves should be expected until the end of the season. That is how the McCaskeys have always operated and there is no reason to expect that to change. One last thing made clear in all of this? Whoever does take over as GM will have the final say on who the next head coach is.

Nothing will change in regards to that part of the process.

If Kelly is the one who ends up getting the nod? Bears fans shouldn’t feel overly discouraged. The man has a solid track record going back long before his time in Chicago. In fact, when he was promoted to his current position in 2017, the team started to see a steady improvement in their drafting. Coincidence? There is no way to know until he’s sitting in that GM chair.

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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