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Ryan Pace Proving Again He’s a Master Bargain Hunter For The Bears

Ryan Pace Proving Again He’s a Master Bargain Hunter For The Bears
© Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Pace gets a lot of grief from Chicago Bears fans. It’s not hard to understand why. He has quite a few high-profile misfires in his tenure as GM. Especially when it comes to the 1st round of the NFL draft. Kevin White? Leonard Floyd? Mitch Trubisky? All turned out to be massive disappointments for one reason or another. It is why the team has managed just one playoff appearance during his time in charge.

That said, it’s important to keep things fair. Pace has also done a lot of good for the Bears. He repaired a fractured locker room and constructed one of the best defenses in the NFL. One that now ranks 4th in the NFL in points allowed through the first five games. Much of that is due to the star power they possess from Khalil Mack to Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, Roquan Smith, and Eddie Jackson.

However, it doesn’t stop there. One thing that makes this particular defense of 2020 so good is its depth. Quietly a number of lesser names have made noteworthy impacts. What makes them stand out isn’t just their play but also what it took to acquire them.

That is to say practically nothing.

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Ryan Pace is one of the best bargain shoppers in the NFL

People talk about the draft and big trades as big hallmarks of top general managers. Yet one of the unsung values the good ones have is being able to find productive players at cheap prices. Pace has routinely proven his mastery of this part of the job and the work he’s done this offseason may have been his finest.

Three players will help illustrate this.

  • Tashaun Gipson – $1.05 million
  • Barkevious Mingo – $887,500
  • Mario Edwards Jr. – $1.6 million

Gipson was signed to a minimum deal back in March. It was expected the former Pro Bowler would replace Ha Ha Clinton-Dix as the starter opposite Eddie Jackson. Remember that Clinton-Dix cost three times as much the year before. All things considered? Gipson might be an improvement. In addition to having a game-clinching interception against Atlanta, he’s also missed just one tackle in 354 defensive snaps.

Mingo was an afterthought.

Nobody paid much attention to the former 1st round pick. He was viewed mainly as special teams help and somebody who might give Robert Quinn a breather from time to time on defense. This is true to an extent, but Mingo has provided far more than anybody could’ve expected. In addition to being solid against the run, he’s provided numerous pressures including a sack against the Giants and huge back-to-back plays against Tampa Bay.

As for Edwards Jr., he was a last-second addition to the Bears’ roster. He wasn’t signed until September 8th, just days before the season began. Yet already he’s made a tangible impact on their fortunes. One thing that stands out about the defensive end is his ability to generate an interior pass rush. While not a sack artist, he clearly knows how to make QBs uncomfortable. One rush allowed Quinn a free shot at Daniel Jones that led to an INT for Deon Bush. Another flustered Tom Brady into overthrowing what might’ve been a touchdown pass.

Again, keep this in mind. The Bears signed these three players for just over $3.5 million. Remember Clinton-Dix made most of that by himself a year ago. Ryan Pace managed to replace his loss and get two other productive players on top of it. That is calling winning at the business of the NFL.

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