When building a watchlist of potential Bears GM candidates, Rick Smith was always going to be at the top.
Smith’s success in identifying top-tier talent and building competitive teams while with the Texans put him on our radar. And because he didn’t take any jobs during last year’s hiring cycle (despite netting a handful of interviews), Smith was still an option going into this year’s group of candidates. It’s just that we were unsure if (1) the Bears had an interest or (2) Smith, himself, would have an eye on Chicago.
It turns out both seem to be true:
The Bears, according to a source, have former Texans GM Rick Smith on their list of GM candidates to talk to here soon. The interest is mutual.
— Dan Wiederer (@danwiederer) January 11, 2022
The Chicago Tribune’s Dan Wiederer reports Smith is on the Bears’ wish-list of GM candidates. And to make things all the spicier, Wiederer adds, “the interest is mutual.”
Hot diggity dog! This is getting fun…
Smith’s name was one of the first to pop up when rumors hinting the Bears could be looking to install a new “top football guy” began surfacing. The former Texans Executive Vice President of Football Operations from 2006-17 has experience doing the dirty work in tearing down and rebuilding a team. And as Houston’s top decision-maker, some of his most productive draft picks include Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, and J.J. Watt. The Texans were .500 or better in nine of Smith’s 12 seasons and made the playoffs in four of his last seven years on the job. Smith’s résumé is legit. And there is no reason not to prioritize talking to a candidate who is a front office free agent.
Seriously. Where do I sign up on behalf of the Bears?
Unfortunately, a power struggle that went down while Smith was taking a leave of absence to be with his wife while she fought breast cancer ultimately led to his departure. But that goes to show how much of a mess the Texans are to let a high-value member of the franchise go during such a trying time. Now, I can’t help but think about how it would make for a wonderful NFL comeback story if Smith could restore the glory of an NFL charter franchise. At a minimum, it is encouraging as heck that he is on the interview list. And as a bonus, he might have an interest in that role, too. Stay tuned…