Firing John Fox earlier today wasn't the only noise the Chicago Bears would make as they try to pull themselves out of the NFC North cellar.
Before his scheduled 4:00 P.M. press conference, Bears president Ted Phillips announced the two-year extension of general manager through 2021, an unsurprising move at Halas Hall. As Chicago moves forward with finding Fox's replacement at head coach, Pace will now have full security to make his dealings for his make or break hire. And, most crucially, his contract will mirror that of the next Bears' head coach: marrying the two together.
Phillips elaborated on that sentiment as much, as the drafting of Mitchell Trubisky likely bought Pace time for him to paint his vision for Chicago.
"We're still committed to (Ryan Pace's) plan," said Phillips of where the Bears stand on their embattled personnel man earlier this afternoon.
Now, the target is firmly on Pace's back. The show at Halas Hall is his to run and his to turn around alone. The weight of the organization completing this rebuild falls completely on him, no more excuses. Another double digit loss season surely won't be tolerated. Whomever he brings in to coach will actually have to be the guy. He himself knows that ultimately results will be his greatest judge moving forward despite a 14-34 record to start his career.
"I have to do a better job ... at the end of the day, it's results on the field," said Pace.
A crucial off-season awaits one of the NFL's youngest general managers. Perhaps one of the most important off-seasons in Bears' franchise history. Any more missteps and not only is Pace jettisoned. but so is the organization set back for years. In that light, as Pace received one more vote of confidence, chairman George McCaskey made sure to set the final tone succinctly when asked what he wanted to see from the next Bears head coach.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron, and contributor to The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.