The Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace on Monday, ending a seven-year run of mediocrity and clearing the way for a rebuild.
Over the course of Pace’s tenure, the Bears went 48-65 and went 0-2 in the playoffs.
Their best season under Pace was 2018, when new coach Matt Nagy led them to a 12-4 record and an NFC North championship. It was Pace’s only winning season. Nagy was also fired Monday after four years as head coach.
More so than all the losing, Pace’s time with the Bears will forever be stamped by squandering the No. 2 overall pick on quarterback Mitch Trubisky in 2017. He passed on future stars Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson. Trubisky was the franchise’s highest draft pick since 1951 and the highest it has ever taken a quarterback.
When chairman George McCaskey and president Ted Phillips decided to let Pace and Nagy return for the 2021 season, they let the general manager take another swing at drafting a quarterback. Pace traded his first round picks in 2021 and 2022 to the Giants as part of a package to draft Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields No. 11 overall.
Fields started 10 games as a rookie, and it’s impossible to make a clear assessment of his future given the many roster problems working against him.
Pace’s draft record is mixed. His first two first-round picks were wide receiver Kevin White and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, and he blew his 2017 second-rounder on tight end Adam Shaheen. He also hit on first-rounder Roquan Smith and used the team’s 2019 and ‘20 first-round picks to trade for Khalil Mack.
Both of his coaching hires ended in firings with Nagy and John Fox, and all of his quarterback moves except Fields have been disastrous. Trubisky likely will never be a full-time NFL starter again, Nick Foles was benched in his first season and Andy Dalton was a mess in more ways than one. Not only was Dalton bad statistically, the promise Pace and Nagy made that he’d be the starter impeded Fields’ development.