Ryan Pace is the 37 year-old general manager of the Chicago Bears and has been since getting hired back in January of 2015. In the last two seasons, Pace has made a flurry of moves to try and revitalize the Bears’ roster since Phil Emery’s departure…. some have been very good, others … not so much.
Known as “one of the best kept secrets” in football, Pace was hired out of New Orleans where he spent a lot of time in the scouting department, eventually moving all the way up to scouting director. Pace’s ability to judge talent, and presumably negotiate deals, is essentially why he was hired. He’s already shown that he’s willing to take a risk (Ray McDonald) and accept blame when things don’t go as expected (Ray McDonald) which is a key attribute of a successful GM.
Most NFL analysts know that the best way to rebuild a team is through the draft, and Pace has some good credit there with his picks of Jordan Howard, Leonard Floyd, Cody Whitehair and Nick Kwiatkoski. The future is looking bright for most of his low-round picks over the last two seasons.
Here’s a look at some of his best, and worst, moves in free agency / trade acquisitions.
The first thing you should notice, not all transactions are listed. For instance, signing Tracy Porter. That would be on the best side after 2015, however after 2016 it falls more into a gray area. The same goes for Danny Trevathan based on how much he was paid.
Based on the look of this, it may appear that Pace’s good and bad decisions weigh out evenly, but that’s not necessarily the case. Some of his good signings have GREAT futures ahead, where his bad signings are mostly already gone with little harm done. Most of Pace’s bad deals were accompanied by contract voids and other clauses to let the Bears easily escape the deals with problematic players (example: Ray McDonald again).
Many reports in Chicago have questioned if Pace is truly in charge at Halas Hall, or if John Fox’s voice has more influence than his. The recent press conference would indicate the two are working together as expected with the main goal being to develop players and create a culture in the locker room that is condusive to winning. That’s why, despite a 3-13 record, Fox will be brought back as the head coach of the Bears for a third season.
As Pace also enters his third off-season with Chicago, it is going to be the biggest yet. The rumored seperation with Jay Cutler will leave a huge hole at the quarterback position and it will be Pace’s job to fill it. With so many options out there ranging from Mitch Trubisky to Jimmy Garoppolo, it will be very interesting to see what he decides to do.
In Pace we trust.