A lot of people tend to make a misconception about the NFL offseason. They believe it’s over after the draft. Teams are done doing anything of significance. This is not true at all. Many times every year players tend to slip through the cracks. Overlooked names who are good talents that can help a football team. Or there are top veterans who suddenly become available due to salary issues and couldn’t find a trade destination. Ryan Pace gets a lot of grief from fans, some of it deserved. One thing they can’t say about the Chicago Bears GM though is he never stops hunting for ways to upgrade his roster.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton once said this was a great strength of Pace. His ability to sift through the scrap heap other teams had combed over for months and still find contributors for their team. Time has shown that the Bears GM is no less opportunistic in Chicago. Since 2015, he has found several notable players after the draft. Some of whom became standout performers and others who delivered in some big moments. Here’s the list of guys they signed May 1st or later.
- Bradley Sowell (May 2nd)
- Kevin Pierre-Louis (May 8th)
- Tracy Porter (June 8th)
- Josh Sitton (September 4th)
- Cre’Von LeBlanc (September 4th)
- Eric Kush (September 4th)
- J.P. Holtz (September 11th)
- Mitch Unrein (September 25th)
- Brent Urban (October 21st)
Keep in mind that list doesn’t include his trades for Dontrelle Inman, Eddy Pineiro, and of course Khalil Mack. Porter was the best corner on the roster in 2015. Sitton went to a Pro Bowl. All of this because Pace was proactive and aggressive in his search for help. Now it’s possible he might be able to strike again.
Ryan Pace nabbing Larry Warford would be another feather in cap
For those who aren’t caught up, here’s an update. The New Orleans Saints recently cut starting guard Larry Warford. A three-time Pro Bowler, Warford turns 29 this year and still seems to have plenty of gas in the tank. The Bears have lingering concerns about their offensive line. Especially at right guard following the retirement of Kyle Long. So it’s not a huge surprise word came out that the team was interested in Warford. He could bring much-needed stability to a front five that struggled at times in 2019.
This is where Pace is often at his best. While many other teams are taking stock of their big draft hauls and determining who should stay and go? He’s still actively searching for that next move. He has advantages in his favor too. The Bears employ an offensive head coach in Nagy renowned for his personable nature. Wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. just signed with the team. He was teammates with Warford in New Orleans. The same can be said for Danny Trevathan, who played with him back in college at Kentucky.
Most situations like this come down to money. Pace has managed the salary cap surprisingly well to this point. Enough to where he has just enough wiggle room for one more big move. This could be the one he was waiting for. It doesn’t hurt that the big lineman is represented by Schwartz & Feinsod, the same agency who happens to represent Bears right tackle Bobby Massie.
Nothing is guaranteed in a situation like this, but history says if Ryan Pace gets his foot in the door he’ll make it happen.