Ryan Pace Blame Minimal for Missing Out on Jimmy Garoppolo

Gene Chamberlain

Of all the connections of the Bears to this Super Bowl matchup, the quarterback tie-in is easily the most intriguing and depressing.

On one side is Patrick Mahomes, the man Bears GM Ryan Pace didn't want.

This connection has been beaten to death. Pace wanted Trubisky so bad he traded up and gave away a slew of picks only to move ahead of the 49ers and take a player no one else would have tried to trade up to get. In the process, he ignored Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, the NFL MVP and one of the hottest play-making quarterbacks to enter the league in decades.

Instead, he got a quarterback he is still defending after three years, with this statement earlier this month:

"It's a growth process."

Everyone knows all about this aspect of the quarterback matchup.

Pace probably doesn't look as bad on the other end of the matchup.

During the 2017 offseason, the Bears definitely pondered trading with New England for Jimmy Garoppolo.

It only made sense. First, Garoppolo was from Chicago, having played at Rolling Meadows High School. He played in college at Eastern Illinois, Pace's college. So he couldn't escape their radar.

In fact, Garoppolo and Pace developed a bit of a relationship during Bears-Patriots co-practices the previous year.

"We got to talk one-on-one and it was just a couple of Eastern guys hanging out," Garoppolo said at the time. "There are not many Eastern Illinois guys (in the NFL), so it's a small group and we like to stick together."

They were doing all their predraft homework on Trubisky at the time, and hadn't yet even made the horrendous signing of Mike Glennon. But Patriots coach Bill Belichick made it obvious Garoppolo was on the market and was letting out information about what he wanted in exchange.

"No one really knows quite what that price is, but someone somewhat connected to the situation said it's probably going to have to be a first-round pick this year and then a first-round pick again next year," Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported.

While "someone somewhat connected to the situation" isn't exactly the horse's mouth, or probably even his hoof, it gave a general idea and no one was denying the two first-rounders at the time.

The Patriots eventually received only a second-round pick from the 49ers for Garappolo but that was at midseason in 2017 just before the trading deadline. They had been backed into the corner at that point by holding onto Garoppolo too long. He'd become a free agent after the season and they'd get nothing.

So assuming the demands to be true, here's what trading for Garoppolo would have cost the Bears:

They would have lost the first-round pick in April used to select Mitchell Trubisky, but obviously wouldn't need him since they'd have Garoppolo.

And they wouldn't have linebacker Roquan Smith.

That's not all.

Because for every move there are future ramifications, they wouldn't have Khalil Mack.

Acquiring Mack took their first-round picks in 2019 and 2020.

No NFL team is giving up their first-round pick for four straight years unless the GM wants to be fired and the owner wants to be pursued by a pitch-fork wielding mob.

So Pace never would have traded for Mack and he might have even ended up in Green Bay.

Perhaps they could have taken Garoppolo off the Patriots' hands at the time for less than two first rounders -- maybe a first and a second. But if they had, it still would have been unlikely Pace would have been out hunting to give up two first-rounders for Mack.

GMs covet first-round picks too much to trade one away and a second-rounder, then trade away two more first-rounders along with some other picks for Mack.

It wouldn't have happened.

The only way they would have had both Smith and Mack would have been if they'd lifted Garoppolo from the Patriots for both a second-rounder and that wasn't happening in the offseason before the 2017 draft.

Twitter: BearDigest @BearsOnMaven

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