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.
Name, Current Team, and Position
Eliot Wolf, New England Patriots Front Office Consultant (2020-present)
• Cleveland Browns Assistant General Manager (2018-19)
• Green Bay Packers Director of Football Operations (2016-17), Director of Player Personnel (2015-16), Director of Pro Personnel (2012-15), Assistant Director of Player Personnel (2011-12), Assistant Director of Pro Personnel (2008-11), Pro Personnel Assistant (2004-08)
Wolf might be best known in some circles as the son of Ron Wolf, the general manager who built those pain-in-the-butt 90’s Packers teams. But Eliot has been at this for a hot minute, having held six different positions within the Packers organization before skipping town. If anyone knows how things run in the NFC North, it should be Wolf. But as we know, sometimes getting a bunch of experience in one system doesn’t always yield the best results for an executive going out on their own. Hence, that time spent with the Browns and Patriots looms as being more valuable than you might otherwise think.
Existing Rumors and Bears Ties
One day after showing Pace the door, the Bears were asking the Patriots for permission to interview Wolf. Six days later, Chicago’s football team was lining things up to sit down for an interview. And on Tuesday, the Bears announced they had completed their interview with Wolf. He was the only executive interviewing on that day.
For what it’s worth, Wolf first jumped on our radar (tangentially) when this list of potential Giants GM candidates put the wheels in motion and put me on a path toward thinking about the Bears. Those thoughts led me to want to keep eyes on what other teams in the market for front office help had eyes on.
Technically, Wolf first found his way into crossing our minds in 2018. More on that later.
Knowing how things work in the NFC North is one thing. Understanding the ins-and-outs of what goes down in Packerland is another. But the most interesting thing about Wolf’s résumé is how many different positions he was in during his time in Green Bay. Holding a bunch of titles doesn’t impress me on its own. But doing so while climbing the organizational ladder has my attention. And it makes it easy to envision Wolf’s pitch as someone who can lead an organization from the top because of his start at the bottom.
The Bears could certainly use someone with the depth and perspective of an exec who has a breadth of experience and has worn many different hats over the years. And if that candidate can use their past to build out something that could work as efficiently and effectively as things in Green Bay, then your candidacy definitely has my attention.
On the other hand, I can’t shake the feeling that it’s a red flag that the Packers didn’t hire Wolf when their GM spot was open in 2018. Wolf was an in-house candidate along with Brian Gutekunst (who eventually got the job) and Russ Ball (who didn’t). It really puts questions in your mind. Frankly, I hope the Bears were smart enough to ask them.
In The End …
There might not be a candidate with more motivation to get this job than Wolf. Think about it. The Packers organization blocked Wolf from interviewing elsewhere on several occasions. Most notably with the Lions in 2017, where Wolf was seen as the favorite to snag the gig. And when things were lining up for him to get the top job in Green Bay, he gets the snubbed in favor of Gutekunst. Based on the results, the Packers appear have to done well with that hire. I’d bet on that being something that grinds Wolf’s gears.
At the end of the day, I see this …
… and think that this job might be the one that best suits Wolf.
However, it doesn’t mean that Wolf best suits the Bears.