The Chicago Bears are set to hire their third general manager since 2012. Phil Emery has flopped after three seasons. Ryan Pace lasted a lot longer but in the end the results were about the same. The two men have managed only one record winning in their respective terms. This is why so much pressure is on George McCaskey’s shoulders. He was appointed team president in 2011. These two hires were entirely his responsibility.
Given the results, it’s not hard to see why Bears fans have little confidence that he can get it right this time around. Even McCaskey himself admitted his football knowledge was minimal. He’s more of a fan than a real executive. This is why he requested outside help for the two previous searches. Former Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi in 2015 and now Hall of Fame manager Bill Polian for this final round.
Now, three days after Black Monday, the picture is getting sharp.
Chicago so far has a list of 10 GM candidates mentioned by national insiders. Others indicated that there might be a few more that weren’t mentioned. Either way, it is evident that the organization is casting a large net in its search for the right person. It includes former CEOs, ceiling specialists and analytics specialists. All the tracks are open. This is perhaps the most comprehensive research McCaskey has ever conducted, and it looks like the NFL is taking note, as Shaw Media’s Hub Arkush reported.
“On the GM front, we believe the Bears have expressed interest in Glen Cook, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Morocco Brown, Joe Schoen, Ran Carthon, Jeff Ireland, Ed Dodds, Eliot Wolf, Omar Khan and Rick Smith.
This is, of course, a much harder group to assess because unlike the Coach Candidates, whose entire CVs were built in public, these guys mostly do all of their work in the background. Much of their work is shrouded in secrecy, and they all come from different levels of the assessor, operations and administrative spectrum.
Corn, several sources within the league tell me that there is no lemon in the group. “
Indeed, when evaluating the background of each listed man, they come across as broad and strong. Smith built four division champions in Houston. Dodds was instrumental in the Seahawks’ 2013 Super Bowl triumph. Wolf is the son of Hall of Famer Ron Wolf and worked for the Packers and Patriots. Ireland have helped acquire 19 prospective Pro Bowlers in the college ranks since 2005. Adofo-Mensah is a Princeton graduate who helped the 49ers reach the Super Bowl in 2019.
Chicago Bears know they need to find the right fit
Someone who can of course find superstar players but also foster a winning culture. Something that has been missing from this organization since the peak years of Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. It is not easy. It took two decades for Michael McCaskey to finally secure Angelo in 2001. Even George Halas himself struggled to find the right fit until finally snatching Jim Finks from the Vikings in 1974.
George has a good adviser in Polian but the final decision is always up to him. Often the hardest part is separating two key pieces. The guy he would like best versus the guy who is best for the job. Sometimes these two things can be the same person, but not always. Look at Pace’s hiring seven years ago. Most thought Chiefs personnel officer Chris Ballard was the obvious choice, but McCaskey was put off by his brutal personality. So they opted for Pace instead.
It can’t be about loving that next GM as a person.
The Chicago Bears have to hire the guy who takes them to the Super Bowl. It is a results-driven business. For now, sources say Smith, Dodds and Ireland are the top favorites to secure the position. All of them have extensive qualifications. Of course, it only takes one interview with someone else to change the script. This process should be fascinating.
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