The rest of the NFL’s Week 18 slate kicks off at the top of the hour.
And once the round of noon games go final, I expect news sources to start spitting out who’s in (and out) in terms of coaches and front office types moving forward.
With that in mind, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has a league-wide roundup discussing the waves of changes that could be washing ashore beginning today. As is always the case, this hiring cycle figures to be a doozy. And with the Bears’ potential involvement, we’re on heightened alert in these parts. Especially if Florio’s off-the-wall tea-leaf reading regarding Chicago’s situation comes to fruition. Because while Florio shares the belief held by many that the expectation is Head Coach Matt Nagy will be sent packing, it’s what he thinks could happen with GM Ryan Pace that’s an eyebrow-raiser.
“Recent reports have indicated that he could stay, with a new title. It’s unclear what his title would be, or whether he’d have any real influence over anything,” Florio writes. “It could be similar to what happened with the Jets years ago, when Terry Bradway moved from G.M. to a scouting role.”
I’ve read this snippet over and over, and still can’t come away not feeling bug-eyed while reading about the possibility of Pace taking a demotion to stay with the team. We’ve discussed possible promotions. But a demotion? Really? Maybe it’s not all that crazy, seeing that there haven’t been rumors about his pending dismissal as there have been for Nagy. And yet, it’s still a little wild.
It would be mind-boggling if someone who has spent the last seven years running the show takes a step back and a demotion to stick with his current employer. Pace, who turns 45 in February, has extensive scouting experience with the Saints. But because he is still on the younger end of the front office aging scale, it’s conceivable that Pace could re-brand himself. Pace could go elsewhere, rebuild his stock, and move up the ladder again. Maybe not into another GM role. Not right away, at least. But these front office types tend to hang around, then bounce around. Even Phil Emery was able to land front office work after a disastrous two years in Chicago. Anything is possible.
Nevertheless, it’s worth pointing out that there is so much uncertainty regarding the Bears that a possible Pace demotion is feasible enough for Florio to type up and spit out for public consumption. Really sums it up, doesn’t it?
Then again, I suppose it *HAS* happened before. Florio name-checks Terry Bradway, a New York Jets executive who took *TWO* demotions from two different front office executives. After serving as the Jets’ GM from 2001-05, Bradway was re-assigned to a Senior Personnel Executive (2006) under Mike Tannenbaum. Later, he took another step down into Senior Director of College Scouting (2013) by John Idzik. Closer to home, the Packers moved Super Bowl winning GM Ted Thompson into a senior adviser role in 2019. Three division titles later, I’d say that front office shake-up paid off.
Even still … I have my doubts that this is something Pace would want to do. But with his contract set to expire at year’s end, something’s gotta give. Right?