The Chicago Bears are 14-34 since hiring Ryan Pace as general manager in 2015. His first head coach, John Fox, is usually the one that takes the bullet for that atrocious record, but Pace had his hands in in as well.
His drafts have been better than his free agency pickups, but the fact remains that of all his player acquisitions, he has only drafted one Pro Bowler — running back Jordan Howard made it as a rookie in 2016 — and he has only signed one player that made a Pro Bowl roster — free agent Josh Sitton made it in 2016 as well.
His first two first round draft picks have had some bad injury luck, with Kevin White only playing in five games in three years, and Leonard Floyd missing 10 games the last two years. But while White is looking to finally prove he can stay healthy and make any impact at all, Floyd is looking to build off of the promise he’s shown since 2016. If Floyd can really breakout this season, that will be a big plus in the positive side of things for Pace.
This season could also turn the page on Pace’s perceived missteps in free agency. He spent a lot to bolster his team, and if they pan out Pace would be looked at in a different light.
One could make the argument that Pace was waiting to turn over the roster from his predecessor, Phil Emery, before really going all-in on spending for talent. That’s how I looked at the previous three offseasons, but other disagree.
This year he has his coach (Matt Nagy), and he has his quarterback (Mitchell Trubisky), so there will be no more excuses. The Bears need to makes strides in year four of the rebuild. I’m not talking playoffs-or-bust, but another five win season isn’t going to cut it. His draft picks need to start showing up consistently making plays, and his free agent class needs to give the team some juice.
Gregg Rosenthal, the Around The NFL Editor for NFL.com, recently ranked the GMs in the NFL and Pace received the lowest rank. There we’re six “relative newbies” that he felt it wouldn’t be fair to rank just yet, but of the twenty-six he ranked, Pace was 26th.
Here’s what he had to say.
This offseason has been full of promise for Pace, but it’s too early to grade the acquisitions intended to make the Matt Nagy era fly. Pace inherited a difficult situation in 2015, but there’s no avoiding that his first big hire (coach John Fox, fired in January), free-agent signing ( Pernell McPhee, released in February) and draft pick ( Kevin White, who has played in five games since being picked seventh overall in 2015) are reflected in the team’s 14-34 record since Pace arrived.
There have been hits like free-agent signing Akiem Hicks and the team’s talented, low-cost backfield, but Pace’s rough 2017 free-agent crop ( Mike Glennon, Markus Wheaton, Dion Sims) included a lot of wasted money. Now that Pace has been given a rare second life, there’s reason to believe he’s found new purpose with Nagy, and that the widely derided trade up (from third overall to second last year) to draft QB Mitchell Trubisky can pay off.
When looking over the guys Rosenthal ranked, I think 26th is fair. But I also think 2018 will be the defining season for Ryan Pace.
Do you approve of the job that Ryan Pace has done through three years?
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