If Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace woke up to read the press clippings regarding his team’s front office this morning, he’s probably not in a great mood.
On the heels of Pace being ranked as the worst general manager in football, USA Today released the results of an NFL agent poll that ranked the Bears as the fourth-worst-prepared team during contract negotiations. Only Washington, Cleveland (prior to the hiring of new GM John Dorsey), and Cincinnati rate worse than Chicago. Oakland and the New York Jets round out the bottom five.
I’m not totally sure how to digest this one. On one hand, agents might not be pleased with how the Bears handle negotiations. Chicago’s front office has handed out a ton of money, which should be music to an agent’s ears. However, the deals the team has signed have been front-loaded, short-term deals that have been easy for the team to step away from. Agents probably don’t like that, even if we do.
And it’s also worth noting that the Bears hired Joseph Laine as the team’s lead contract negotiator in 2015, taking over for Cliff Stein, who held that position from 2002 until Pace came to town. Back in 2009, ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli shared a glowing piece on Stein, a former agent who flipped to the other side of the bargaining table.
Where the blame should fall when it comes to this ranking is up for interpretation. Ultimately, the man at the top of the power structure wears it. But all things considered, these aren’t the headlines good teams make and the teams who share the list with the Bears aren’t the kind of company you want to keep as a front office.