Chicago Bears ownership could be hampering 2021 NFL Draft plans

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace are clearly on the hot seat despite leading the team to a surprise playoff appearance last season.

In reality, their futures in the Windy City will depend heavily on the quarterback situation. Pace bombed out big time by trading up for the recently-departed Mitchell Trubisky in the 2017 NFL Draft and is set to rely on Andy Dalton to save his job in 2021. It’s not an ideal scenario for the general manager.

This has led to speculation that Chicago’s brass might look to pull off a blockbuster trade up in next week’s draft to land one of the top-five signal callers. Unfortunately for Pace and Nagy, their questionable futures in Chicago could handcuff them when it comes to making a trade.

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“One question being batted around in NFL circles is whether ownership would sign off on a massive move up the board, which would take moving future assets to pull off.” Albert Breer of MMQB noted. “There were questions about the job security of Nagy and Pace in the middle of last season, and the team has been coy about the contract status of the GM and coach. And sometimes, in situations like that, owners will be careful about letting guys sell out in the draft.”

This makes sense. Reports earlier in the offseason concluded that the Chicago Bears were “desperate” to land a franchise quarterback. That included offering up a huge bounty to the Seattle Seahawks for Russell Wilson and showing interest in Deshaun Watson before allegations of sexual assault were levied in his direction.

Typically, head coaches and general managers who are on the hot seat have no issue with yielding future draft capital in a win-now move. They aren’t going to be around when those draft picks sent packing show their stuff on an NFL field. At least, that’s the thought process.

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Will the Chicago Bears move up in the 2021 NFL Draft?

Chicago Bears trade up for Justin Fields
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) walks off the field after losing to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This report from Breer seems to suggest that Pace is not making the call. Rather, that’s likely coming from team president and CEO Ted Phillips. It also likely means that moving all the way up to the fourth pick with the Atlanta Falcons is not in the equation right now.

Selecting 20th overall next week, the Bears likely won’t move up unless Justin Fields, Trey Lance or Mac Jones falls outside of the top-10. Pace would then be able to justify moving a future first-round pick and change to land a potential franchise quarterback.

Then again, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of trust in the general manager’s evaluation of quarterbacks after that ill-fated Trubisky trade. Remember, Chicago moved up from the third pick to second overall with San Francisco — yielding multiple picks in the process. One of those selections ended up being All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner. That’s a whole lot of welp.

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Chicago Bears quarterback options

Kellen Mond, Chicago Bears
Dec 27, 2019; Houston, Texas, USA; Texas A&M Aggies quarterback Kellen Mond (11) rushes against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Taking all of this into account, there’s now a better chance that Chicago actually moves down from the 20th selection and adds a second-tier quarterback prospect at the end of Round 1.

There’s been talk that former Texas A&M star Kellen Mond and Florida’s Kyle Trask could end up being late first-round picks. While they are not seen as being on the same tier as the three quarterbacks mentioned above, either one would at least give Chicago’s brass a young quarterback.

Either way, it’s now rather clear that the Chicago Bears’ brass is preparing for a future without Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. That could impact the team’s plans during the 2021 NFL Draft.