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
Omar Khan, Pittsburgh Steelers Vice President of Football & Business Administration (2016-present)
• Pittsburgh Steelers Director of Football Administration (2011-16), Football Administration Coordinator (2001-11)
• New Orleans Saints Football Operations (1997-2001)
Khan has spent 21 years with the Steelers and helped build two Super Bowl Championship teams in Pittsburgh over the last two decades. Aside from the Patriots, there isn’t another organization in football that you look at and immediately say, “I want to be like them!” except the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Existing Rumors and Bears Ties
Less than 48 hours after showing Pace the door, the Bears requested permission to interview Pittsburgh Vice President of Football and Business Operations, Omar Khan. Khan is yet to interview with the Bears, but with GM interviews now expected to stretch into next week, that’s probably when we’ll see word from the Bears that they’ve completed their interview with the long-time Steelers executive.
Khan checks a massive box for the Bears by being a tenured executive with the Steelers. The Bears have long desired to be like the Rooney Family in Pittsburgh. Another legacy family in the NFL that owns a charter franchise, with the only difference being the Steelers have been perpetually successful, and the Bears, well, they have not. Hiring a top executive from that franchise seems like an instant turn into the right direction for this franchise struggling to live up to its storied name after decades of dysfunctional futility has become the unfortunate norm in Chicago.
Khan has spent nearly half of his life and almost his entire adult life working in the front office of the Steelers. Since Pittsburgh hired Khan in 2001, he has helped long-time GM Kevin Colbert craft a team that wins year-in and year-out. The Steelers have won two Super Bowls (XL, XLIII), made three Super Bowl Appearances, played in six AFC Championship games, made the playoffs 14 times, and have only had one losing season (6-10 in 2003) during Khan’s time in Pittsburgh.
While Colbert may have been the principal architect of the rosters that took the Steelers to these heights over the last two decades, Khan is widely regarded as an instrumental piece of their success, a salary cap wizard who knows how to make the right hires to keep Pittsburgh’s arrow pointing up.
More I read about Omar Khan, the more I hope he gets this GM job. Not a scout but a terrific executive – and smart cap manager – who knows how to build a scouting department. (And it could enable the Bears to promote Champ Kelly to a more senior personnel role.)
— DaBearsBlog (@dabearsblog) January 19, 2022
Khan isn’t going to be the main person in a draft room making the decisions, but he’ll certainly make sure that the right person is in place. During Khan’s time in Pittsburgh, the Steelers have drafted and signed or extended 30-plus Pro Bowlers.
In The End …
The NFL has long been a league that has treated the GM position as a talent evaluation/scouting role due to the primary responsibilities within that position having to deal with the roster construction. Omar Khan is not that guy. But, Omar Khan is a highly successful and respected evaluator of those guys. Khan would provide the Bears with an administrator who not only knows what a championship football organization looks like but has played a crucial role in making that organization run like a well-oiled machine for two-plus decades.
Khan brings the know-how and the eye for the talent to make it all happen to the table with a resumé and track record worth bucking the traditional way we look at the GM position in the NFL. Might he finally get his shot with the Bears? I can see more teams taking a page out of that book moving forward if he does.
I’m a scout guy. I am.
But picking an accountant type for GM and loading up your staff with strong talent evaluators might be a trend to watch.
Might not be sweeping development this year but hearing more openness to this model
— Eric Edholm (@Eric_Edholm) January 19, 2022