While one domino falls with the pending departure of Chuck Pagano, it appears as if two others will stand in their place.
Things are lining up for the architects of the 2020 Chicago Bears to return once more for 2021:
The rumor flying around the NFL right now is #Bears will retain GM Ryan Pace & coach Matt Nagy into 2021. That's what folks working in the league have heard. We'll see if team has something this evening but that is the chatter that's out there right now.
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) January 13, 2021
The full expectation is that Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace will be retained by the #Bears. There is no official word from the team.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) January 13, 2021
League source: Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy will be back in 2021. Chuck Pagano will be retiring.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) January 13, 2021
Cool. Cool, cool, cool.
On one hand, Head Coach Matt Nagy owns a 28-20 record. He is just two seasons removed from winning the NFL’s Coach of the Year award. And to his credit, he staved off potential mutiny the last two years while the defense did heavy lifting as his offense flopped.
General Manager Ryan Pace was also an award winner two years ago. Pace’s peers named him the league’s Executive of the Year, and the team hasn’t finished below .500 since 2017. Moreover, all but two players on a roster that has made two postseason appearances have been acquired by Pace. It’s also worth noting Pace spearheaded the modernization of Halas Hall and re-tooling of the health and training program.
But … there’s always a but.
Because while Nagy’s record looks good, it shouldn’t be the only consideration when assessing his future. The offense’s regression and stagnation in Mitchell Trubisky’s development raise bright red flags. The kinds that even I can’t ignore.
And while Pace gets credit for building two postseason qualifiers, that only tells part of the story. That’s because Pace’s drafting, asset management, and cap handling that had his future with the team in doubt in the first place.
The decision to retain Nagy and Pace puts the Bears squarely in a win-now window. In a vacuum, that’s not the worst thing in the world. But going all-in for 2021 with a GM in a lame-duck year and a head coach who has just one year remaining on his deal after next season comes with major risks. Rolling the dice for 2021 at the expense of the future is kin to walking a tightrope with piranhas circling beneath you.
I suppose we can cross those bridges when we get there. But in the meantime, I’m bracing myself for what I’ll need to dive into once this becomes official. So buckle up, Bears fans. This is going to be a trip.