It was a bit of a surprise to see Chicago Bears President Ted Phillips lead off an afternoon press conference in which the firing of John Fox was going to be the primary focus. You may have been a little nervous.
But Phillips’ presence was warranted as he announced the extension of GM Ryan Pace’s contract through 2021.
“He’s earned the opportunity to see his plan through fruition,” Phillips said in his opening remarks.
Phillips said the organization is committed to Pace’s plan to build through the draft and has confidence in Pace’s vision, despite the team’s 14-34 record since Pace’s hiring.
Pace revealed he has full authority in the decision-making process and will make the final decision on who will be the team’s next head coach. Further, Pace will not give up roster control power to whichever coach he hires. No family matters. No special advisors. Pure Pace.
Pace was asked if Vic Fangio would be interviewed for the job, but did not comment. When asked about his top candidates, Pace refused to name names, and added he did not want to be painted into a corner regarding the team’s preference for an offensive or defensive coach.
Pace’s original deal was a five-year pact that ran through 2019. His two-year extension gives him four years to right the ship, and lends itself to giving whichever coach he hires a matching four-year contract.
The Bears’ job probably looks just a little more attractive today than it did yesterday. With a young quarterback and stability at the top of the front office in tow, the Bears will go out in search of the right man for an attractive job. So far, we’ve already heard about two names the Bears want to interview, and more will be coming soon.