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Bears head coach roundtable: The competition

The Bears need a new coach. After a fateful couple of days, so do a bunch of other teams. Please, don’t all raise your hands at once.

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Black Monday (and sometimes Tuesday) is a time and honored NFL tradition. After all, most desperate NFL fanbases are only ever truly satisfied or excited on two days — when a new hire is made and when a deadweight of a bad hire is finally fired.

At the start of their off-season, the Bears are already casting quite the wide net into finding their next head coach. Unfortunately, many other teams (such as Denver, Miami, and the New York football Giants, to name a few) are also jockeying for the position of a new sideline leader. There are a lot of intriguing and qualified candidates, but only so many slots to fill.

In Part 2 of a roundtable today, the WCG staff will diagram where they think the Bears’ job stacks up to others. Seeing as how the competition will likely play a factor into whoever next takes the lead headset for the Bears, it’s only fair.

In case you missed it: Part 1 on the main quality we want in the next head coach.

Washington Football Team v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Where would you rank the Bears’ job amongst the other openings around the NFL?

Robert Zeglinski: Look, I’m far from a person that believes the Bears deserve any respect as a professional football franchise. They do not. They’ve been far too inept for far too long to merit any benefit of the doubt. But that doesn’t change that they are still the Chicago Bears. Even with their lack of success for almost four decades running, their name carries weight. The coach that takes them over the top is a legend in the sport forever and a household name for the rest of their life. None of the other current jobs can attest to that potential.

George McCaskey and the rest of the Bears’ board (meaning, his family) are, without a doubt, an egregious group of failsons and faildaughters. But that can be said for most NFL owners, including many successful teams. For as idiotic and out of touch as they can be, I don’t buy that this family is a factor in preventing a premium name from taking the podium at Halas Hall.

Throw in a ready-made quarterback to mold like Justin Fields — the hardest part of the job to nail down — and this is the most attractive opening, bar none. Everyone wants to be the person that brings the Chicago Bears back to their former glory. As corny and cliche as it might sound, that distinction matters to type-A football people (which describes everyone).

Erik Duerrwaechter: I would imagine the Bears are towards the top, if not at the very top. The two obvious drawbacks are a relatively tight cap, and the lower number of premium draft picks readily available. Nearly half of the 2021 roster is set for free agency. And they’re without their first-round pick yet again for the third time in four years.

However, those two drawbacks are countered with having an obvious answer at quarterback. There are also a few perks with winning in Chicago that you won’t find elsewhere. If you win big in Chicago, you’re an instant legend. Justin Fields will have plenty of coaches interested, along with some promising pieces on offense and defense. Any good coaching staff figures to contend rather soon.

Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

Josh Sunderbruch: I mean, Miami and Las Vegas should be near the top just due to rosters, but Miami is a mess right now, maybe enough of a mess to move Jacksonville ahead of them due to having good cap room, great draft position, and a top prospect. Minnesota is at the bottom, and Denver is in a hard place. Maybe fourth? Somewhere in the middle, for sure. I think coaches will decide based on emotional factors, so I think the Bears are probably okay there.

Sam Householder: I don’t know. I think the ownership structure and organizational reputation hurt a bit, but there are many good pieces and a young quarterback. I would think that of the current open positions, it would be ahead of Jacksonville, arguably ahead of Denver (ownership questions, but a long line of steady winning), probably ahead of the Vikings (who might need a whole reset outside of some offensive pieces), but probably behind Miami (coming off two straight winning seasons). They’re definitely behind the Raiders too. Although, I am excluding them because I don’t see how they don’t bring back Rick Bisaccia.

NFL: DEC 23 Giants at Colts Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Aaron Leming: Out of the jobs open right now, I think the Bears’ job is near the top. Their salary cap situation has improved and will again in 2023 (as long as they don’t continue to kick the can down the road). They have a young quarterback on a rookie contract. Justin Fields will command plenty of suitors, all on his own. Finally, tying a new general manager to a new head coach should give prospective candidates more security in knowing that they will have a clean slate. The Bears aren’t a well-run organization, but the allure of coaching a charter franchise cannot be undervalued.

Ken Mitchell: I would think it’s right at the top because the team has a good young core to build around on both sides of the ball, and with a new GM coming in, there should be several years (two, at the very least) to develop into a consistent playoff team. Additionally, with the new Halas Hall, the facilities are excellent in Chicago.

Jack R. Salo: The Bears’ job is the third-most appealing. Minnesota has the most appealing vacancy after drafting their butts off in 2021 and being able to hand-pick a quarterback very soon: Kirk Cousins’ absurd contract is about to expire. Las Vegas made the playoffs without a real head coach, but they might keep Rick Bisaccia, so they’re an up-in-the-air No. 2. Chicago, meanwhile, has a quarterback you don’t hate getting saddled with and a division that is about to be wide open once they blow the team up in Wisconsin (also a point to the Vikings).