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SportsMonday: The Bears Tie That Should Still Bind

Maybe just maybe the majority of local sports commentators is figuring out that Bears General Manager Ryan Pace doesn't know what he is doing.

Well, he has mastered one thing: He has been remarkably good at convincing the owners of the Bears - Grandma Ginny, son Brian McCaskey and their massive family - that he still deserves to be employed (and he is under contract for two more years after this one so don't expect a change even after this current debacle of a season). But other than that . . .

Way, way too many of the professional sports talkers and writers in this town had no problem pivoting to a rebuilding narrative when Pace was several years into his tenure as general manager starting 2 1/2 seasons ago.

In an organization where any sort of real accountability exists, an executive doesn't get to do that after he's been on the job three years. If he even suggests it, he is laughed out of town figuratively and literally.

Pace took the job way back when saying he was in "win now" mode, hiring John Fox as his coach and keeping Jay Cutler as his quarterback. Right off the bat he said he could see himself drafting a quarterback every year because the position is so important. But then he refused to draft signal-callers in his first few drafts for fear of offending his veteran at the helm. Not a good sign.

Somehow he was able to dump Cutler one year (and pay Mike Glennon $18 million!) and fire Fox the next and keep moving right along. His big move along the way was to trade four picks for the opportunity to draft quarterback Mitch Trubisky second overall in 2017. As it turns out there were a couple other quarterbacks drafted later in the first round that year who look like they might be slightly better than Pace's man. In fact it looks like none of the quarterbacks drafted that year are worse.

We were promised at the time that the general manager would absolutely be tethered to his beloved young quarterback. If Mitch didn't make it, Pace wouldn't either. Despite folks figuring Pace out, why do I still get the feeling that many of them will be OK with Pace getting to bring in someone else next offseason?

Just because people believe the McCaskeys are too cheap to fire a general manager with two seasons left on his deal doesn't make it right. And by the way, they could pay a second general manager with their pocket change. If they were about winning and winning alone, Pace would be gone at the end of this season. But they aren't. And the local commentariat still lets too much of it slide.

Well, except for Ed O'Bradovich. Ed doesn't let anything slide and God bless him for it.

Pace has traded up to take the guy he has wanted in the first, first, second and third rounds of the last four Bears drafts. No other general manager in the NFL operates that way. They don't because they know the one immutable fact about drafts - the success percentage doesn't change. At best, half of draft picks work out and half don't. The only way to take advantage of the system is to make trades that result in having more picks. It is the strategy the Patriots have been using for more than 15 years now. You would think Pace would have noticed that at some point.

The Bears are paying for Pace's ineptitude now and they will only pay more further down the line as the bill for Pace's profligate draft pick spending spree comes due. It is time for a competent accounting of that by everyone.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

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Posted on Feb 14, 2020