Where GM Ryan Pace Feels He Stands with the McCaskeys
By and large Bears general manager Ryan Pace rarely talks about his own status or the inner workings of the organization.
Pace's contract expires after 2021 and many preseason hotseat lists have mentioned his name prominently.
On Wednesday when Pace and coach Matt Nagy hosted a virtual training camp-opening press conference, questions about the future didn't get entirely shut down. It was more like they were deflected, as Pace acknowledged being dissatisfied with last year's 8-8 record.
"I mean, we all have the same goals and the same vision for this season," Pace said. "Last year was disappointing for all of us. That starts with me. That's hard to swallow. It's disappointing. There's a number of factors that went into that.
"Just being real with ourselves this offseason and making hard decisions, whether it's the roster or it's staff or it's different things we're doing here at Halas, all those hard decisions, I feel like they've been made or continue to be made. And it just goes back to what's best for the team. We all put our egos aside and what's best for the team."
Pace does seem to feel he's on solid footing with the ownership McCaskey family and team president and CEO Ted Phillips.
"I feel the full support from George and from Ted and our dialogue is constant, our communication is constant and I really appreciate that," Pace said. "I think it gives me and Matt a lot of energy and confidence as we go into the season."
While Pace's contract expires after 2021, Nagy's runs on for one year longer.
Pace has been general manager since 2015. The team has made the playoffs once in five years and had one winning record in those five years.
Since Pace hired Nagy as coach, they have gone 12-4 and 8-8. In Pace's first three years with John Fox as coach, they went 6-10, 3-13 and 5-11.
Pace has also taken plenty of criticism from outside the organization for the trade up he made in the 2017 draft to select Mitchell Trubisky, whose fifth-year contract option was declined in May.
Although some of Pace's moves have been unsuccessful, others such as the trade to bring in outside linebacker Khalil Mack, the drafting of Eddie Jackson and the signing of Allen Robinson, have been positive.
Now Pace is facing another potentially difficult situation involving Robinson.
The Bears are currently well over the salary cap for 2021 in projections by Spotrac.com and Overthecap.com and it's perceived they'd like to give Robinson a contract extension, although as recently as a week ago Robinson was saying in an interview that he and his agent have heard nothing.
The COVID-19 situation could drop the salary cap from $198 million to as low as $175 million next year, but Pace said he isn't concerned about accomplishing any contract work which needs to be done.
"You know, we're still waiting on some of those details," Pace said. "I think we know what the floor is for the cap in '21 and once we're given the parameters from the league in regards to the cap, we're all operating under the same rules, we get that.
"I think, you know I just have a lot of confidence in (financial chief) Joey Laine and myself and how we're forecasting and how we're predicting for the future and I'm confident we'll work through it. It's not going to prevent us from doing the things that we want to do."