It has been suggested that Ryan Pace may not be the brightest GM in all of football.
There is some evidence to back this up.
There is, after all, the $18 million he spent on Mike Glennon and the belief based on Pace's strong scouting that Glennon was a starting quarterback.
There's Eddie Royal, Antrel Rolle, Markus Wheaton and Pernell McPhee, to name just a few free agents who didn't quite work out.
And then there's that pesky 14-34 record in Pace's first attempt at generally managing.
But how many GMs can personally engineer a .291 win percentage and collect a contract extension in the process?
Sounds pretty flippin' smart, actually.
No Chicago Bears GM has posted a worse three-year record in the last 40 years, and yet Pace convinced George McCaskey and Ted Phillips that he deserved four more years on the job.
While other GMs make the playoffs, Pace has sold Bears ownership on the future and the need to be patient.
Really, really patient.
So in his fourth year, will the Bears finally make the playoffs?
Well, since it was all the fault of one John Fox, they should not only make the playoffs but also make a serious run at the Super Bowl.
Credit Pace with beginning his coaching search months ago, allowing him to move quickly to get Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy as his new head coach only a week after dumping Fox.
That's pretty smart, too.
Pace did not pretend within the walls of Halas Hall that Fox might still be around, so he worked closely with McCaskey and Phillips, and the trio began looking for Nagy long before Fox got the hook.
Pace now has someone in place with play-calling experience who will also serve to help Mitch Trubisky reach his potential. More important than anything else in this experiment is having a personal tutor, and Trubisky has that now.
According to the Bears, Nagy was the Chiefs' quarterbacks coach for three years -- the Chiefs' website says two -- and that part of the job will be of greater significance than anything else Nagy does in Chicago.
He was also co-offensive coordinator for a year, offensive coordinator in 2017 and called plays for Andy Reid the final five games of the season.
The 39-year-old Nagy is a former college and Arena League quarterback, so he knows how to play the position, and what he did for Alex Smith is all the resume he should ever need.
Nagy also has great fondness for Trubisky, and this undoubtedly helped him in the interview process as Pace's entire career is tied directly to Trubisky's development.
So Trubisky should take major steps forward and the Bears should be a playoff team in 2018.
That was going to be impossible in 2017, all the absurd preseason optimism notwithstanding.
The Bears had a rookie quarterback with very little college experience and the few weapons on offense were as raw as the QB. That leaves few opportunities to open up the playbook and just as few to win football games.
Maybe Pace knew all of that heading into the season. Maybe he knew the offense had no chance. Maybe he knew Fox had no chance. Maybe the last thing Pace needed was Fox winning eight games and keeping his job another year.
No longer tied to an NFL dinosaur, Pace now has everything he could possibly want as an NFL general manager.
He has the complete support of ownership, money to spend, a young head coach, his own quarterback, another high draft pick, and Pace insists he's got a great roster filled with great players.
Four years into the program, it all sounds like the Bears should win the division in 2018.
Thus far, Pace's record doesn't back up the claims he's made before each of the last three seasons.
But now there doesn't seem to be any excuse for the Bears to be anything less than a serious threat to reach the postseason and win playoff games.
Let's hope he doesn't need to move the goal posts again.
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