For the sake of perspective, I like to keep tabs on what national reporters are saying about what’s happening locally with the Chicago Bears. And so I perked up a bit when I read a zinger from Peter King’s FMIA column at NBC Sports. In an anecdote in which he opines trading Adam Shaheen for a conditional seventh-round pick was “another black mark” on GM Ryan Pace’s record, King subtly hints at the importance of the year to come: “Let’s just say that Bear success in the 2020 season is vital for Pace’s future.”
This isn’t the first time someone has alluded to the idea of Pace being on the hot seat in 2020. Back in April, we discussed a tidbit from Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller. A source who said “(Ryan Pace) just got fired with this draft” in 2017 resurfaced to tell Miller “I told you so” in 2020.
Even still … there isn’t much concrete evidence to push me to think Pace is on the hot seat. And this message – relayed by Pace, himself – seems to solidify his spot in the organization:
#Bears GM Ryan Pace: "I feel the full support from George (McCaskey) and Ted (Phillips)."
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) July 29, 2020
Well, that certainly counts as a vote of confidence. Even if it comes indirectly.
Here’s the thing: It’s not difficult to envision a failed season resulting in major changes. Nor is it a stretch to imagine Pace on a short leash if you think about the long-term picture of the quarterback position. And let’s just say, people who are DEFINITELY not on the hot seat don’t usually have to remind folks that they have confidence of ownership. Moreover, general managers and quarterbacks are often tied together. If one doesn’t work out, the other goes. Whenever one gets dismissed, the other often follows. That’s just how football operates through the lens of the most important position in the game (if not, all of sports).
It would be quite damning it turns out Pace misfired on his Nick Foles gamble after whiffing on drafting Mitchell Trubisky instead of Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson.
But to be clear, this is an important year for everyone in the Bears’ organization. Not just Pace. From top to bottom. Front office members. Players. Coaches. Everyone. And I don’t think it’s hyperbolic to write that 2020 is a potential turning point season for the entire franchise. If it is, we have to start at the top … right?
It is only natural to look at Pace, who is in his fifth year with the franchise. Pace has overseen the tear-down and rebuild of the organization. It has happened on the field with changes in player personnel and coaches, as well as off of it with a modernized Halas Hall. But at some point, the on-field success needs to be as notable as what has happened away from the gridiron.
Again, Pace comes off as not being on the hot seat. But if this season ends with the Bears still having just one winning season during Pace’s time in Chicago, then we can re-check the temperature for the seat in which Pace sits.