This might be the most eventful off-season in Chicago Bears history, which is saying something. Things began with them securing the #1 overall pick for the first time in 76 years. On top of that, GM Ryan Poles’ work last year enabled them to compile over $100 million in salary cap space. This team is flush with resources. Yet that doesn’t even cover the entire scope. The franchise also decided to change team presidents for the first time in 24 years. Ted Phillips will retire in February, having held his position since 1999. His replacement will be former Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren.
The announcement was a bombshell to many. Warren was viewed as one of the most powerful executives in college football. He’d not only negotiated a colossal TV deal for billions of dollars, but he also added power programs USC and UCLA to the conference ranks. It was odd to some that he’d leave such a position after only holding it for a few years. Insiders think it was due to his desire to return to the NFL. He’d spent most of his professional career there from 1997 to 2019. The Bears job was the perfect opportunity to make the jump.
Based on reactions from several different sources, it appears the McCaskeys nailed it.
Kevin Warren thinks big, and that’s what the Bears need.
Those close to the man describe him as energetic, personable, and ambitious. He isn’t afraid to think forward. His decision to add two west coast teams to the Big Ten, a predominantly midwest conference for decades, was something that all of college football didn’t see coming. He understands things change. Either you’re at the forefront of those changes or lag behind. That has been the problem with the Bears for ages. As other teams modernize, they remain stuck in the past. Not anymore.
Everything moving forward will be about making the Bears one of the premier franchises in the NFL. It starts with taking over the Arlington Park stadium project. Kevin Warren is no stranger to this. He was critical to the Minnesota Vikings establishing U.S. Bank Stadium a few years ago. This man knows how to handle high-profile negotiations. He’s seen how championship teams are built. All of that experience and expertise has come to Chicago. George McCaskey deserves credit for getting it right this time.