The Chicago Bears have spent over 48 hours since their loss to the Saints in the playoffs on complete radio silence. People are left wondering what will happen regarding the fates of Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace. Are both gone? Is one gone and one back? Are both back? The longer it goes, the greater the fears are that George McCaskey will do what most people don’t want.
According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, that fear may be coming to pass. While nothing is cemented yet and things can still change, the belief around the NFL at this point is that Nagy and Pace will both return for the 2021 season. It’s fair to believe the late-season rally and making the playoffs, all while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic was enough to preserve their jobs for one more season.
The rumor flying around the NFL right now is #Bears will retain GM Ryan Pace & coach Matt Nagy into 2021. That's what folks working in the league have heard. We'll see if team has something this evening but that is the chatter that's out there right now.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) January 13, 2021
The full expectation is that Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace will be retained by the #Bears. There is no official word from the team.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) January 13, 2021
There is no other way to put it. This is a bold decision.
George McCaskey is banking on these two being able to keep this franchise in playoff contentions despite clear evidence the team is trending in the wrong direction. The defense is getting older and had its worst ranking since 2016. The offense was bad again save for that brief stretch in December. They have no definitive solution at quarterback. It’s hard to feel optimistic about where this team is.
It appears the team brass is trusting the leadership the two men provide to chart the right course through such difficulties. One thing is for sure. McCaskey isn’t going to have a lot of fans backing him up for the next several months.
So how did Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace survive?
There are only theories at this point. The odds are it came down to a few factors. Nagy was able to rescue the team from its six-game losing streak to win three in a row. That was just enough to get them into the playoffs for the second time in three years. As for Pace? The 2020 draft class likely did him some big favors. Cole Kmet, Jaylon Johnson, and Darnell Mooney all emerged as strong rookie contributors to their season. Roquan Smith had an All-Pro-type year and David Montgomery had a breakout campaign as well.
The emergence of such young talents no doubt were decisive arguments in convincing McCaskey they deserve one more year. The Bears will have their 1st round pick this spring and potentially eight picks overall with extra compensatory selections. The hope would be that Pace can refuel the roster with more young talent and Nagy can get the offense figured out.
Of course, that brings up the biggest question of all.
What do Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace do at quarterback? Pace’s track record speaks for itself. Mike Glennon? Mitch Trubisky? Nick Foles? All failures. If they’re coming back on what will likely be a short leash, this leads one to believe they have some sort of plan for finding an actual quarterback they can work with. They best hope so or this is just delaying the inevitable.