The Chicago Bears decided to keep the status quo this year. That means Ryan Pace will remain the GM in 2021, his seventh season in charge. While that’s great for him, the question is obvious. Is it merely a temporary holding action? George McCaskey made it pretty clear he expects this team to win next season. That is why Pace’s contract wasn’t extended. That means he has to find a way to improve this team from the 8-8 purgatory they’ve been in the past two years.

With no top 10 pick and limited spending money? That is asking a lot. This is why a lot of people feel the Bears are just delaying the inevitable. Either the team finishes 8-8 again or probably even worse unless they manage to find a quarterback. Something Pace has failed to do for the past six years. Why should they expect him to suddenly get it right now?

This is why his exit will merely happen a year later than anticipated. The good news is if this proves true, the Bears should have a number of quality options available to them.

Chicago Bears general manager options will be plentiful next year

Rick Smith (former Texans GM)

It’s a genuine shock that Smith wasn’t hired by somebody. This guy was one of the better GMs in the NFL for a solid decade when he ran the Houston Texans from 2006 to 2017. During that time he secured a boatload of talent for his team including Mario Williams, Duane Brown, Brandon Brooks, J.J. Watt, DeAndre Hopkins, and Deshaun Watson among many others. He never stopped being good at his job.

Jeff Ireland (Saints assistant GM)

Ireland has a checkered past. During his stint as GM in Miami, he scored a lot of quality players including Jake Long, Ryan Tannehill, Olivier Vernon, Mike Pouncey, and others. However, he also let the organization get out of control off the field at times. Has he learned his lessons? His work in New Orleans is impossible to ignore with recent drafts producing names like Marcus Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, and Alvin Kamara.

Marvin Allen (Dolphins assistant GM)

It’s a bit surprising Allen hasn’t gotten more attention. His track record is pretty strong. He was the director of college scouting in Kansas City when they built their Super Bowl roster including Patrick Mahomes. His one season as a national scout in Buffalo landed them Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds. Now he’s been working in Miami on a team that just finished 10-6 after going 5-11 the year before. The guy deserves some love.

Joe Hortiz (Ravens director of player personnel)

A true lifer. Hortiz has been with Baltimore for over two decades now. Some might see that as a concern but they shouldn’t. The Ravens have consistently remained one of the best front offices in the NFL for a long time. Since becoming their director of college scouting in 2009, the list of players he’s helped acquire is pretty impressive including Kelechi Osemele, Brandon Williams, C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith, Ronnie Stanley, Matt Judon, Marlon Humphrey, and Lamar Jackson. His style would fit the Chicago Bears well.

Adam Peters (49ers director of player personnel)

This is a name that surfaced in a big way this offseason. When looking at the background, it’s not hard to see why. From 2011 to 2016 as a national scout then director of college scouting for Denver, he helped them secure Von Miller, Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson, Danny Trevathan, and Justin Simmons among others. San Francisco poached him to become their vice president of player personnel in 2017. Since then he’s helped them add names like George Kittle, Fred Warner, Mike McGlinchey, and Nick Bosa.