It’s the second Friday of the post-Pace/Nagy era and I think I’m going to treat myself. To something. I don’t know what yet. But I don’t think it will be takeout. I’ve been ordering in a lot lately. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with it, but it doesn’t feel right to me. I need to carve out some time to make myself a nice dinner. But certainly, once I do all the meal prep and get it all lined up, the Bears will be hiring a Transformer-to-be-named-later into a mega-hybrid GM-head coach transformazoid.
• Perspective is underrated. For instance, Mark Potash (Sun-Times) rightfully points out how some of the best moves in Chicago sports history were surprising, unpopular, and sometimes both. And with that in mind, Potash rattles off a handful of outside-of-the-box options. Admittedly, they range from pie-in-the-sky ideas to ones that make you do the thinking-man-emoji-face in real life. I think that, no matter where you land on any potential hire, we can all agree the Bears need to do something different than what they usually do. It certainly couldn’t hurt to try.
• And it wouldn’t hurt to pick up the pace a little. Especially with other teams seemingly on the cusp of turning the page:
Giants are finished with the interview process. No additional candidates. Their new general manager will be Joe Schoen (Bills), Ryan Poles (Chiefs) or Adam Peters (49ers).
— Paul Schwartz (@NYPost_Schwartz) January 21, 2022
• The New York Football Giants appear to be set to choose from three finalists for their open GM position. Two of them have been connected to the Bears opening. So, obviously, this one has some loose Bears ties. Chicago has officially interviewed Joe Schoen, while Ryan Poles is reportedly on the list of guys the team would like to check in with at some point. I reckon that point better get here quickly if the Giants are done with their interview process.
• Meanwhile, the Bears are adding head coach interviews before they get a GM. Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen is getting an interview next week. And as NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport notes, it is the team’s last scheduled interview. Moreover, Allen could be the last one of this round candidates. If that’s the case, this is what the Bears’ head coach candidate field looks like:
⇒ Jim Caldwell, Brian Daboll, Matt Eberflus, Brian Flores, Byron Leftwich, Nathaniel Hackett, Doug Pederson would be in the column of coaches who have locked in official interviews at this point.
⇒ Dennis Allen, Todd Bowles, Leslie Frazier, and Dan Quinn are among those who haven’t officially gone through the process just yet, but will soon.
• This is a fun link, especially for those of us who enjoy playing connect-the-dots:
Bears just interviewed Reggie McKenize for GM and his first hire as the Raiders GM was Dennis Allen https://t.co/U7u4LGnUPS
— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) January 21, 2022
• Reggie McKenzie might catch guff as the guy who had to sign off on the Raiders’ trades of Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper at Jon Gruden’s request. But Raiders owner Mark Davis applauding McKenzie’s efforts for getting the team out of “cap hell” speaks to me. The Bears aren’t in the worst cap shape right now, projecting to be in the top third of the league in terms of cap space. But some of those dead money issues that Ryan Pace left behind could cause some issues at some point.
• You can catch up on the candidate madness here. We’re certainly not out of the woods yet.
• The Texans’ wild hunt for a new head coach has led them to interview former Bears QB Josh McCown. Again:
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) January 21, 2022
• Gut feeling says we’ll start seeing some clarity this weekend. With the Bucs, Bills, Chiefs, and Packers still hanging around in the playoffs, it is worth nothing that a bunch of popular candidates can’t even be hired just yet. Once some of these teams start falling off the board, then I think we’ll start seeing the log jam come loose.
• This is a unique way to pick this weekend’s winners:
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) January 20, 2022
• Bears tight end Jimmy Graham is a finalist for the NFL’s “Salute to Service” award. In late December, the Tribune’s Colleen Kane wrote about Graham’s commitment and contributions to the military community. You should give it a read, as it shows a part of Graham that we aren’t used to seeing.
• While Graham is set to hit free agency, I can’t wait to see what a returning pass-catcher will do for an encore in 2022:
• Damon Arnette – who was chosen with one of the picks the Bears sent the Raiders in the Khalil Mack trade – is signing a reserve/futures contract with the Chiefs, per ESPN’s Field Yates. Does this make Kansas City the *REAL* winners of the Mack trade?
• Maybe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will see this and draw inspiration from it:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) January 20, 2022
• The Hawks-centric rumors are starting to pick up:
Blackhawks Rumor Round-up: Oilers in on Kubalík, Strome Dilemma, Extension for DeBrincat, Morehttps://t.co/UVHZgzlCBc
— Bleacher Nation Blackhawks (@BN_Blackhawks) January 20, 2022
• I wonder if there is still a fit with the Bulls:
Former Bulls Target Paul Millsap Is Looking to Move on from the Netshttps://t.co/4SoLgiIVgy
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) January 21, 2022
• Because battle lines were drawn years ago, it feels like we’ve been in a MLB lockout for longer than 50 days. But, hey, the players’ counterproposal is coming on Monday.