This upcoming offseason is going to be a crucial one for the Chicago Bears. They have lots of questions surrounding key parts of the organization. The quarterback back is one of them, as they only have one under contract for next season. After a disappointing season, changes are expected for the Bears.
Chicago’s offseason just started, but the losses continue to mount. They lost to the New Orleans in the wild-card round, and now they are losing key personnel. They just suffered an unexpected departure that impacts the best part of their team.
Bears DC Chuck Pagano is retiring
Chuck Pagano has decided to retire, leaving Chicago as their defensive coordinator per ESPN. Pagano spent the past two seasons as the Bears defensive coordinator. The 60-year old coach replaced Vic Fangio, who is now the head coach of the Broncos. The Bears defense has been a reliable unit despite the dropoff in 2020.
Pagano had the Bears defense ranked in the top 10 in total yards allowed in 2019. The unit also allowed the least amount of points in the NFC that year (18.6), per ESPN. Chicago’s defense ranked 15th against the run and 11th against the past in 2020. Pagano was a favorite amongst players for his passion and transparency.
The most notable portion of Pagano’s career is when he was the Indianapolis Colts’ head coach. He spent six years with the team, taking them to the postseason in his first three seasons there. Pagano finished his tenure in Indy with a 53-43 record, 3-3 in the playoffs. He famously battled leukemia during the 2012 season, coining the “Chuck Strong” slogan.
Pagano’s departure gives the Bears another hole to fill. It was thought that the Bears would have more holes to fill, as general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy were on the hot seat the entire season. Those seats only became hotter as the season came to a close, which means they should be on their way out of Chicago.
Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are staying in Chicago
Although Pagano is leaving the Chicago Bears, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy are not. They will both be retained by the team for at least one more season. This season didn’t pan out like either of them thought it would. The Bears did make the playoffs, winning three of their last four games. Ending the season on that note likely played a part in the team keeping them both.
Nagy was supposed to help develop Mitchell Trubisky into a great NFL quarterback. The duo made strides late in the season, but there is still more to be desired from the No. 2 overall pick. The Bears offense has been lackluster at best during Nagy’s tenure, failing to push the ball down the field. Nagy won the Coach of the Year Award in 2018, but things haven’t been great since then.
Pace has spent six seasons with the Bears. They have been mediocre during his time there, posting a 42-54 record. They have failed to win a postseason game in those six years. Pace’s time with the Bears hasn’t always been bad. He did land Khalil Mack from the Raiders, giving Chicago an elite rusher to anchor the defense. The stain on his resume is jumping up one spot to get Trubisky when there were better prospects out there.
Pace and Nagy’s jobs are safe, at least for one more season. They will need to have a stellar offseason to keep the Chicago Bears in contention and cool their seats a little bit.
The Chicago Bears have a big offseason ahead of them
With the GM and coach set in stone, the Chicago Bears can move forward with the offseason. After back to back 8-8 seasons, things need to change for the team to rise the NFL ranks. The biggest change the team could make would be at quarterback. Trubisky played well to end the regular season but fell flat in the wild-card game.
The Bears didn’t pick up Trubisky’s fifth-year option, so he will be a free agent. Chicago can franchise tag him or sign him to a new deal. They could also let him walk and look elsewhere for a quarterback. There are quarterbacks that could demand trades, something Chicago would be interested in.
Securing Allen Robinson is also on Chicago’s list. Robinson has carried the Bears offense, putting together two straight 1,000 yard seasons. If the Bears don’t give Robinson a long-term deal, it could get real bleak for Chicago’s offense. They also have to see what they are going to do at the tackle position. That is only the start of the Bears’ list of things to do this offseason.
The Chicago Bears are losing their defensive coordinator but keeping their coach and GM. That isn’t what many Bears fans were hoping for. But ownership wants to give Pace and Nagy one more shot at getting the Bears out of mediocrity.
All stats courtesy of ESPN