When Jerry Angelo was hired by the Bears in 2001 as the franchise’s first general manager since Jerry Vainisi was fired in 1987, he didn’t have to rebuild the team from the ground up.
On the contrary, Angelo literally inherited a playoff roster. Adding only blocking fullback Daimon Shelton, the Bears went 13-3 in 2001 with a roster totally stocked by former vice president of player personnel Mark Hatley.
Ryan Pace wasn’t so lucky when he was hired in 2015 to replace Phil Emery. Not only did he have the usual roster rebuild that most new general managers face, but the most productive players he inherited were either liabilities, malcontents or past their prime.
The Bears’ new general manager who replaces Pace should have a better head start. Even on offense — where the Bears ranked 27th in points and 24th in yards in 2021 under Matt Nagy — quarterback Justin Fields alone gives the new GM and coach a building block that, in the right hands, could make the entire offensive roster better.
Fields struggled through most of his rookie season. In 12 games (10 starts) he had a 73.2 passer rating (seven touchdowns, 10 interceptions), which ranked 28th among the 31 quarterbacks who started 10 games or more in 2021.
But until proven otherwise, Nagy’s offense that seemed to diminish even its most productive parts, gets the majority of the blame for Fields’ difficulty. In fact, it’s Fields that makes the Bears’ job more attractive than it has been in previous coaching and GM changes.