One of the most puzzling aspects of the Chicago Bears GM hunt is its size. According to various reports, the team has now met or will meet with 16 candidates. That seems like a lot. While nobody is opposed to casting a wide net, some fear that the team is spreading itself too thin. They’re running the risk of getting bogged down in the interview process, allowing other teams to get the lead on them. However, there is another possibility at play here.
I posted a theory last week that perhaps it isn’t just a GM the Bears are hunting. There is a possibility that they might also be hunting for a strong lieutenant. Somebody they can lure away from another organization to serve as the eventual GM’s #2 guy. In this way, they land not one but two candidates they like to help reshape the front office. It would explain why the search is so large.
Now there might be some confirmation to this idea.
Michael Lombardi is a former GM himself and now serves as a regular insider. He spoke about the Bears hiring process on the Mully & Haugh show for 670 The Score about the search. In his mind, the GM job isn’t just about scouting. There are many other responsibilities involved. He should be asked questions that pertain to the big picture. Yet from what he’s hearing, the Bears are also asking director of scouting or director of player personnel questions too.
“Structure to me is so important. I think the guy who becomes the general manager of a team, it has to have the broader picture of how to build a team. This isn’t a director of college scouting job. Not really to ask questions about what the scouts will do in the springs, summer or fall. When you’re asking those questions in the interview, that’s not necessarily what you should focus on.
The GM questions should be how do you picture the Chicago Bears looking in three years? What kind of players are we going to draft? What will the grading scale look like to build the kind of team we want to build? What is the most important position in a salary cap structure? Those are the kind of questions I think. But from talking to people that have had interviews in there, that’s not necessarily the way it’s going.”
This revelation offers some credence to the theory that the organization is hunting more than one fish. Keep in mind it isn’t just a GM they’re hunting. There is a strong likelihood there will be several changes to the front office in the coming weeks. The Bears could have multiple new directors of personnel and directors of college/pro scouting. If they feel they can reel in more than one quality candidate, they absolutely should do it.
Job titles can help indicate Chicago Bears approach
It is important to remember something about the list of candidates the Bears are meeting. Several of them don’t have truly defined roles in the organizations they’re currently working for. Yes, they’re getting paid like usual front office executives, but their responsibilities can’t really be described. Some are also free agents that can easily be plucked.
- Rick Smith (former GM)
- Eliot Wolf (Patriots senior personnel executive)
- Reggie McKenzie (Dolphins senior personnel executive)
- Morocco Brown (Colts director of college scouting)
- Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Browns VP of football operations)
In the cases of guys like Wolf and McKenzie, the idea would be giving them genuine titles in the organization beyond “personnel executive.” They could be Director of Player Personnel or even Assistant GM. The same can go for guys like Brown and Adofo-Mensah, except in their cases it would be seen as a legitimate promotion from their current jobs.
This would make the wide net approach seem much smarter.
There is no rule in the NFL against trying to poach good personnel people from other organizations. The Chicago Bears are free to explore the possibility. In the end, the worst thing the candidates can do is say no. If they can land a GM they like and end up finding another person that would like to work with them, then the team lands two quality front office people in one go.