The Chicago Bears have fired general manager Ryan Pace, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday. The news comes on the same day of the report of head coach Matt Nagy’s firing from the team.
EDIT: It’s now official. The team has announced that both Pace and Nagy have been let go.
After 14 seasons in the Saints organization, Pace was hired to be the Bears’ general manager in January of 2015, replacing Phil Emery after a rocky regime. Faced with a difficult task of having an aging roster with locker-room concerns, Pace attempted to instill some stability by hiring John Fox as the team’s new head coach.
Early moves like signing Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan while drafting Eddie Goldman, Adrian Amos and Leonard Floyd helped turn around what was one of the worst defenses in the league. The offense struggled out of the gate and underwent a major facelift quickly, with the likes of Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett all out of the organization by 2017.
The Bears made a bold move in trading up for Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft, deeming him to be their future franchise quarterback. Surrounded by a lackluster group of weapons, Trubisky struggled as a rookie, and the team followed suit. Having not won more than 6 games in 3 seasons, Pace and the Bears parted ways with Fox and hired Matt Nagy to take over.
2018 marked a major offseason for the Bears, adding the likes of Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel and Trey Burton in free agency to aid the offense. Roquan Smith, James Daniels, Anthony Miller and Bilal Nichols were among rookies who made an impact, and the offseason was topped with the blockbuster trade for Khalil Mack. Chicago capitalized on their momentum with a 12-4 season and an NFC North championship, though they infamously fell in the Wild Card round to the Eagles.
The following years would see the Bears fall short of the lofty standards that 2018 team set for the organization. Trubisky failed to develop properly, the offensive play-calling was lackluster, and the defense failed to force turnovers at the historic rate they did in that playoff year. Pace would bring in expensive veterans like Nick Foles, Jimmy Graham, Andy Dalton and Robert Quinn to try and salvage their playoff window, and while Quinn ended up being a strong signing, the Bears found themselves strapped with several pricy contracts for players whose best days are behind them.
The Bears followed up an 8-8 2020 season that saw them sneak into the playoffs with an underwhelming campaign, finishing 6-11 in a year that concluded with a blown lead against the Vikings on Sunday.
Though Pace was praised for his ability to identify talent in the middle rounds of the draft and his acquisition of quarterback Justin Fields, his issues with dealing away draft capital, poor salary cap management and consecutive failed head coaching hires have seen him relieved of his duties.
Pace finishes his tenure with the Bears with a 48-65 regular season record, two playoff appearances and zero playoff victories.