The Bears gave Ryan Pace a contract extension Monday, allowing the general manager’s timeframe to match up with whomever he selects as the team’s next head coach.
Pace’s contract was supposed to expire after the 2019 season. Pace is now under contract until 2021.
It might have proven more difficult for Pace to hire a coach whose contract runs longer than his. The next head coach figures to get a four-year deal.
“I never feel like it’s about me,” Pace said, “it’s about what’s best for the Bears and if that allows us to go get the coach that we want, then that’s what I’m for, so it does show stability within our organization, so I just feel very blessed for the opportunity, very honored. Now I have to take advantage of it.”
Bears president/CEO Ted Phillips said he approached Pace, whose Bears have gone 14-34 in three years, with the extension because he deserved it.
“It was kind of an ongoing discussion, like anyone’s evaluation is,” Phillips said. “We really just finalized it (Monday).”
The Bears fired coach John Fox on Monday morning, and have begun to look for a replacement, probably with an offensive pedigree. Pace said the Bears “couldn’t be happier” with the direction of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who started the last 12 games of the season.
Pace said he will make the final decision on the next head coach. He will not cede final control of the 53-man roster to whomever he hires.
Phillips delivered an endorsement of the general manager and his plan to build through the draft.
“We believe Ryan is the man to lead our football operations into the future,” Phillips said. “And I’m pleased to say that we’ve extended his contract through the 2021 season, because he’s earned the opportunity to see his plan to fruition. ”