The Bears will need to hire a new defensive coordinator, but their power structure is otherwise expected to remain in place.
Both Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace are expected to stay on in their respective roles, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets. Pace has been with the Bears since the 2015 season, hiring Nagy in 2018. The results have been mixed, and one fateful draft decision has largely defined this era of Bears football, but it appears ownership is satisfied with a second playoff berth in three seasons.
Pace’s decision to trade up to No. 2 overall and draft Mitchell Trubisky has proven to be one of the modern draft’s premier missteps, with Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson becoming superstars fairly quickly while Trubisky has struggled. The Bears declined Trubisky’s fifth-year option, and Nagy benched the embattled starter in September. However, the Bears turned back to their young passer late this season and managed to make the playoffs despite a six-game losing streak. The Saints then dispatched the NFC’s No. 7 seeded-squad in a game that saw the Bears gain just 140 yards before a garbage-time drive.
While Pace did well to build a championship-caliber defense — trading for Khalil Mack, signing Akiem Hicks and drafting Eddie Jackson and Roquan Smith — Chicago’s offenses have capped that unit’s relevance. The Bears lost DC Vic Fangio after the 2018 season and will now be searching for a successor to the retiring Chuck Pagano. Chicago’s defense has ranked in the top 10 in DVOA over the past three seasons, but some of its key players — Mack, Hicks, Danny Trevathan and Robert Quinn — are either north of 30 or will be by the 2021 season.
Nagy earned Coach of the Year honors in 2018, with the ex-Chiefs OC elevating Trubisky considerably that year and ending a seven-season Bears playoff drought. But Chicago has gone 8-8 over the past two years and has ranked no higher than 22nd in scoring or total offense in that span, despite the 2020 playoff berth. It is not certain if Nagy will have a new quarterback with which to work in 2021, but is does look like the young head coach has done enough to earn a fourth season in Chicago.