Getting to Know Bears General Manager Candidates: Joe Schoen

A complete house cleaning is underway at Halas Hall. Three football seasons have passed since Matt Nagy, and Ryan Pace won top honors for their efforts in leading the 2018 Chicago Bears to a 12-4 record and NFC North title, and the time has come for the franchise to find their replacements.

Despite this team’s issues, the head coach and general manager vacancies are highly sought-after. And with Super Bowl-winning Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian lending a helping hand, the Bears are in a position to make some impact hirings. Over the following days, weeks, or however long it takes, we’ll be diving into the top available candidates, including their history, what they offer schematically, how they fit culturally, where they can take this team, and more. Let’s do it. 

Previous Head Coach Candidates: Doug Pederson, Nathaniel Hackett, Brian Daboll, Brian Flores

Previous General Manager Candidates: Glenn Cook, Jeff Ireland, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Ran Carthon

Name, Current Team, and Position

Joe Schoen, Buffalo Bills Assistant General Manager (2017-present)

Relevant Experience

•   Miami Dolphins Director of Player Personnel (2014-16), Assistant Director of College Scouting (2013), National Scout (2008-12)

•   Carolina Panthers Area Scout (2002-07), Scouting Assistant (2001)

Schoen has experiences with three organizations from which he can draw. That factoid isn’t inconsequential. He also has experience in a variety of different roles. There is plenty of player personnel experience, with a focus on scouting and college. And in the assistant GM role, Schoen plays the right-hand-man to Brandon Beane, who is one of the league’s top execs. There are few front office leaders your franchise would want to pull from more than Beane’s bunch. The Bills are #fireemoji hot right now.

Existing Rumors and Bears Ties

Schoen was one of the early GM candidates name-checked in the first wave of rumors that crashed ashore. And one day after dismantling the Patriots, Schoen’s candidacy in Chicago became officially official after interviewing with the team.

And while he hasn’t secured a second interview with Chicago, he has done so with the New York Giants. That isn’t something to look past. Because you can expect crossover between the Bears and Giants in terms of candidates for both jobs, NY’s interest in Schoen could impact Chicago on two fronts. Especially in a situation where Schoen wants to bring on a coach he has familiarity with from his past.

Potential Fit

It’s not that the Bears’ needs stop at needing a general manager. If only that was the case. Instead, Chicago’s next GM needs to be a step away from how things were done in the past. Not only do the Bears need new eyes on old problems, they need new ideas. And they need leaders who can plot new paths to success. Don’t overlook successful paths just because they’re worn. But there needs to be a change of direction from how things have been done. And Schoen could provide that.

And it could begin with something as simple as being as transparent as he is as he explains life on the sidelines in this Bills-produced video:

Candid conversation — even for a few minutes in a YouTube clip — is infinitely refreshing. Especially after the last few years with Pace when everything felt like a secret.

In addition to working for the Bills, who are the hottest thing smoking after Super Wild Card Weekend, Schoen has a wealth of experience in other roles and teams. Having that breadth of experience and perspective could be helpful. At least getting a fresh set of eyes on the pile of rubbish that was the 2021 team would make for a nice start.

In The End …

Even though prior results are predictive of future outcomes, I’ll admit to being hesitant to the idea of the Bears hiring someone who has been in just one system, coach, or organization. This isn’t to say I would eliminate them from consideration. However, I’ll come clean when I confessing that the lack of diversity in Pace and Nagy’s profiles should have been a red flag to me. At minimum, a yellow flag should’ve come up.

Nevertheless, we move on. Moreover, we move on into a process that needs that perspective in order to fully move ahead.

Schoen isn’t a candidate just because he has been working for 20 years and has multiple stops on his road to this point. But it doesn’t hurt. In fact, building from one experience to the next would seem to be a sign of growth. You can’t move up the football ladder without proving yourself at the previous rung. And when one sees someone jump to another organization and get a promotion along the way, that also feels like a sign of progress. So, when I see Schoen’s résumé check those boxes, I can’t ignore it.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean Schoen is a slam dunk. But that résumé is worth landing the first interview, and possibly more down the line.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

more bears news

The Washington Commanders Are Hosting a Pre-Draft QB Group Date

The MMQB's Albert Breer shares an anecdote about the Washington Commanders pre-draft process. Washington, which holds the second pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, is hosting a bunch of quarterbacks for top-30 visits this week. Together. In the same place....

The Bears Are Back, Caleb, Verse, Goff, Biles, and Other Bears Bullets

Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" played in a loop in my head on Monday as I thought about the Chicago Bears strolling into Halas Hall to start the offseason training program. This is what it looked like...

Chop Robinson is Reportedly Visiting the Bears

Chop Robinson is more than a cool name. He was also a productive edge defender for the Penn State Nittany Lions. And, today, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports that Chop Robinson is visiting with the Chicago Bears — today. That's...

Dadrion Taylor-Demerson is Taking a Top 30 Visit with the Bears

We're adding Dadrion Taylor-Demerson to the list of players who are coming down to Halas Hall for a top-30 visit with the Chicago Bears. Chris Emma has the scoop on the Texas Tech defensive back's upcoming trip to the greater...

Caleb Williams is Already Having Fun With Bears Fans

The 2024 NFL Draft in 10 days. And even though Caleb Williams isn't a Bear just yet, the presumptive No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft is already already getting acclimated with Bears Twitter. And in an endearing way, too....

First Phase Begins, Brisker Keeps Receipts, Whitehair Goes to Vegas, Receiver News, and Other Bears Bullets

Happy TTPD Week to those who observe. The Chicago Bears are one of 25 NFL teams that begin voluntary workout programs today. Huzzah! As pointed out in this post from the NFL highlighting the Bears (and the other 24 teams)...

Bagent Goes to Work, Small School Prospect Watch, Stuart Scott Doc Coming, and Other Bears Bullets

Is it just me or are weekends getting shorter as I'm getting older? As s often the case on Sundays, this Sunday set of BN Bears Bullets features a mess of things that I bookmarked during the week but never...

Would You Trade Up to Draft Marvin Harrison Jr.? And Other Bears Bullets

Saturday's forecast in Chicago has temperatures getting into the low 70s. So, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to try to breeze through this set of Bears Bullets so I can get some fresh air. Adam Rank got the wheels...

Bears to Host Jared Verse on a Top-30 Visit

Momma, there goes that man's name again. Jared Verse is firmly on the Chicago Bears radar. And soon, they'll get to know the Florida State pass rusher more intimately whenever he makes his way to Halas Hall: NFL reporter...

What If the Falcons-Vikings Tampering Case Impacts the Bears?

Do you remember that NFL tampering investigation that features the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings? Better yet, are you familiar with the Chicago Bears connection to the ridiculousness? In case you missed it, here is the backstory on that:

Latest News

Bulls Depth Takes Another Hit with Onuralp Bitim Ruled Out for Postseason

Another Chicago Bulls player has suffered a season-ending injury. The team announced on Tuesday that Onuralp Bitim has suffered a detached retina in his right eye and is now out for the remainder of the postseason. He now joins Zach...

Mariners vs. Reds Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Led by Jorge Polanco (two-game homer streak), the Seattle Mariners (7-10) are favorites versus the Cincinnati Reds (9-7) Tuesday at 9:40 PM ET. Sportsbooks have named the Mariners as -130 favorites for the game, which airs on ROOT Sports NW.Seattle's...

Cardinals vs. Athletics Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The St. Louis Cardinals will take the field against the Oakland Athletics (7-10) on Tuesday. The game begins at 9:40 PM ET on BSMW, with the Cardinals listed as -148 favorites on the moneyline.St. Louis' Lance Lynn and Oakland's JP...

Diamondbacks vs. Cubs Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Chicago Cubs (10-6) look to Michael Busch (homers in five straight games), to pull off the upset over the Arizona Diamondbacks (8-9) at Chase Field Tuesday. The Diamondbacks are -124 moneyline favorites for the game, with first pitch set...

Dodgers vs. Nationals Prediction: Expert Picks, Odds, Stats & Best Bets – Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Two of the league's top hitters will meet Tuesday when the Los Angeles Dodgers (11-8) and Washington Nationals (7-9) take to the field at 10:10 PM ET, live on MLB Network. Will Smith is batting .369 for the Dodgers (-278...

The Washington Commanders Are Hosting a Pre-Draft QB Group Date

The MMQB's Albert Breer shares an anecdote about the Washington Commanders pre-draft process. Washington, which holds the second pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, is hosting a bunch of quarterbacks for top-30 visits this week. Together. In the same place....

Mariners vs. Reds Probable Starting Pitchers – April 16

The Seattle Mariners (7-10) play at home against the Cincinnati Reds (9-7) on Tuesday. The contest is set to start at 9:40 PM ET.The Mariners will call on Logan Gilbert versus the Reds and Hunter Greene (0-1).Mariners vs. Reds Pitcher...

Stars vs. Blues Prediction: Odds, Picks, Best Bets – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Dallas Stars welcome the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday, and are -225 favorites on the moneyline, with the road team a heavy underdog at +185.Stars vs. Blues Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Stars (-225)Underdog: Blues (+185)Total: 6Best Stars vs. Blues Promo...

Oilers vs. Coyotes Prediction: Live Odds, Stats, History and Picks – Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Edmonton Oilers are heavy favorites (-205) on the road against the Arizona Coyotes (+170) at Mullett Arena on Wednesday.Oilers vs. Coyotes Favorite, Moneyline, TotalFavorite: Oilers (-205)Underdog: Coyotes (+170)Total: 6.5Best Oilers vs. Coyotes Promo Codes[lasso type="table" id="1" link_id="1573585"]How to Watch...

Cardinals vs. Athletics Probable Starting Pitchers – April 16

The St. Louis Cardinals (8-9) visit the Oakland Athletics (7-10) for an away game at 9:40 PM ET on Tuesday.This contest's pitching matchup is set, as the Cardinals will send Lance Lynn to the mound, while JP Sears (1-1) will...

more bears news