The Bears are entering the second week of their search for a new coach and GM. As the search continues and going back to when it began, it's been debated about where the jobs ranked among the other openings arounds the league.
Many fans were offended or taken aback to see the job ranked so low, some having it ranked last among the vacancies in the league, lower than perennial cellar-dwellers Oakland and the New York Jets.
There are varying opinions on what makes job so unappealing; everything from the presence of Jay Cutler to the lack of playmakers on defense, or even just being in the same division as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, or the position that Ted Phillips holds allegedly being a turn off to some candidates.
The fact is that for everything the franchise history has been, it is currently not. There is a lot of work to be done and the schedule does not appear to offer much reprieve.
The team might not be in a position for a quick turnaround, and it could even be two years before they are competitive again, as much a testament to the division with Detroit and Green Bay - as well as a young and surging Minnesota Vikings squad - as it is the state of the roster.
That roster is among the oldest in the league and has the fewest first round picks on it, as well as the most over-30 players. The new GM will have quite a task to undertake.
With that said though, there are some bright spots. Which players can the Bears use going forward? Who are the building blocks for the new regime? Who is in place that the new GM and coach can build around?
In order to be a building block they need to be under the age of 27 and have shown enough ability to be a major part of future teams. They should also be worthy of a new contract, if they are still on rookie deals or have a deal that expires in the next two seasons.
On offense the Bears have several players who can be built around: Kyle Long and Alshon Jeffery are obviously the first two players that come to mind. Long has developed into one of the top young guards and, with the struggles of Jordan Mills, some think the Bears would be wise to move him to tackle.
Jeffery just finished his second-straight 1,000 yard season. While he seemed to have fewer game-changing plays this year he is still the most talented receiver the Bears have ever had and can be an absolute beast. A contract extension for him should be near the top of the new GM's shortlist.
Ka'Deem Carey and Marquess Wilson didn't get a chance to show much this season, but both have promise and could be building blocks. Each will be just 22 at the start of next season. I wouldn't expect Carey to surpass Matt Forte anytime soon but, at worst, he could be a solid No. 2 down the road.
On defense there are fewer answers.
Kyle Fuller appears to have a bright future, but beyond him there aren't a lot of up and comers.
Jon Bostic will 24 at the start of next season, but has he shown enough to say that he'll be anything but serviceable in the future? He is, unfortunately, an average-at-best starter in the league, unless a new defensive staff somehow takes him to a level we haven't seen.
Christian Jones, on the other hand, does appear to have building block potential. Jones will be 24 at the start of next season and is coming off a strong finish to his rookie year. He was highly thought of by the old regime but, since they are on the way out, who knows what Jones' future is.
Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson are certainly promising players but it may be too soon to tell if they are anything more than rotational depth. Stephen Paea had a strong season, playing in 16 games for the first time in his career. He could be a candidate for a new contract and will turn 27 in May. He may not be a building block but, if the incoming GM and coach like what they see, he could be an important veteran moving forward.
Elsewhere on defense are young players like Brock Vereen, Demontre Hurst, Al Louis-Jean and David Bass. These young players have shown flashes but have also been exposed or disappeared at times.
Vereen will have just turned 23 at the start of the 2015 season but, after an up and down rookie season, I'm not sure what his future is.
Bass played well down the stretch, but I'm not sure he's anything more than rotational depth.
Louis-Jean will be 21 when the starts next year and has some desirable traits, like his 6'1" frame, but he struggled at times. He, like Jones, lost some of his biggest backers with the ouster of Emery and Trestman. Where does he fit into the future?
The same could be said of Hurst, who looked overmatched at times in the nickelback spot but could be a nice depth player.
Unfortunately, there are a lot more questions than answers for whoever takes over this roster. Whom do you see as the team's foundation for the future?