Chicago Bears hire Ryan Pace as GM

Chicago Bears hire Ryan Pace as GM

The Chicago Bears announced Thursday afternoon that they had reached an agreement with now former New Orleans Saints’ Director of Player Personnel Ryan Pace to become the team’s sixth general manger.

Pace’s background is heavily on the pro side, meaning he was very much in charge of scouting veteran NFL talent for potential acquisition via free agency, trade and the NFL’s waiver wire system.

Pace also assisted in scouting and evaluating top draft prospects, and worked closely with Saints’ GM Mickey Loomis. You can view the full bio released by the Bears here.

Pace, 37, becomes the youngest GM in the NFL, and was considered to be an up-and-comer in the league. As GM of the Chicago Bears, the former Eastern Illinois defensive end has officially arrived.

Many around the league had speculated Pace would likely ride the success of two previous promotions to a third in New Orleans for the 2015 season and stay with the team, having turned down an opportunity to interview with the Miami Dolphins last season, and the New York Jets this season.

Also speculated was that Chiefs’ Director of Player Personnel Chris Ballard was the front-runner for the GM opening in Chicago, having worked with the team previously for 12 seasons, and by what seemed to be a general consensus that he was next in line for such a position among league circles.

The Bears put an end to the speculation today.

“I kind of feel like he’s been our secret for a while, but look, he’s a great, young personnel director,” Mickey Loomis said of Pace, according to a Times-Picayune piece from early 2014. “He’s got a great eye for talent, and guys that fit with what we are doing and what we want to do. He’s very talented.”

Earlier this week, Loomis told the media: “We’d hate to lose him, and yet, he’s ready for a general manager’s job — I would expect to lose him at some point.”

What more do we know about Ryan Pace and the type of job he’ll do in Chicago? That all remains to be seen, but his first task will be to help the Bears find a new head coach, a process that started mere moments after he signed his contract.

Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was said to be in the building at Halas Hall, awaiting his interview, as the Bears finalized the details with Pace.

Chicago has already interviewed Broncos’ offensive coordinator Adam Gase and Seahawks’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for their vacant head coaching position, and Mike Shanahan is also reported to be on their radar.

Shanahan of course worked with Jay Cutler in Denver for a couple years, including Cutler’s only Pro Bowl season in 2008, when he threw for a career-high 4,526 yards in Shanahan’s offense. Cutler also had his lowest average career interception percentage in Denver, as well as his best average career passer rating.

Whoever the next head coach ultimately turns out to be, the Bears are, with the hire of Pace, at least one step closer to beginning work on turning around the NFC North’s last place 5-11 Chicago Bears.

More to come.

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Filed under: Coaches and Management

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