During the 2017 NFL Draft, Bleacher Report draft insider Matt Miller shared an ominous tweet, inferring that Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace’s days were numbered after a draft that featured Mitch Trubisky and Adam Shaheen as the team’s first two picks.
Here’s the tweet:
Said a high-level executive, "(Ryan Pace) just got fired with this draft."
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 30, 2017
Nearly three years later, Miller says his source has resurfaced to say “I told you so.”
One of the nuggets in Miller’s recent scouting notebook at Bleacher Report comes from the (now out of football) executive who inspired the tweet above, who hints that chaos and change is around the corner in Chicago.
Miller’s source offers up a rumor that both Pace and Head Coach Matt Nagy will be fired at year’s end, which is quite jarring. Think about it. At this time last year, Nagy was the reigning NFL Coach of the Year award recipient and Pace’s peers tabbed him as the Executive of the Year. For each to be on the hot seat and predicted to be on their way out the door two years after receiving much acclaim would mean something terrible (or multiple somethings) would have happened to get to that point.
But it doesn’t end with the rumored firings at year’s end. Miller’s source also hears Nagy will land on his feet, returning to his role as the Kansas City Chiefs’ offensive coordinator when Eric Bieniemy leaves to get a head-coaching gig of his own. There is no prediction for Pace’s future, but the last GM who was canned by the Bears after a disappointing run (Phil Emery) returned to his roots as a scout a year after his dismissal.
It isn’t difficult to imagine a failed season by the Bears resulting in sweeping changes in the front office and in the head coach’s chair. But it’s wild to think about those changes one season after the early success Pace and Nagy had together.
And yet, it isn’t a stretch to think either of these high-ranking members of the Bears organization as being on the hot seat.
For Pace, he is in his fifth year with the franchise, after having overseen the tear-down and rebuild of the organization on the field (with the sweeping changes in player personnel) and off of it (as a driving force behind the execution of a refurbished Halas Hall). At some point, the process of building a team to grow into a sustained competition has to yield those desired results. One winning season isn’t going to cut it. As for Nagy, he was brought in as a quarterback whisperer who was supposed to bring the offense into the 21st century. Instead, the 2019 Bears offense regressed and produced numbers similar to what was experienced during the John Fox era as the quarterback play took a major step back in 2019.
There needs to be a point where the rubber hits the road for the coach, his offense, and the guy who put it all together. Perhaps that time will come at the end of the 2020 season if the team fails to meet lofty expectations for a second consecutive season.