Chicago Bears rumors: Team to ‘clean house’ following 2020 season

By Matt Johnson
Nov 10, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the Chicago Bears helmet before the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears rumors: The Chicago Bears started the 2020 season off hot, rolling to a 5-1 record and looking like a Super Bowl LV contender. With the team now heading into Week 14 with a 5-7 record, change is coming to Chicago.

During the team’s six-game losing streak, changes at quarterback and to the offensive play-calling haven’t slowed down the skid. For head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace, who came into 2020 on the hot seat, the clock might be running out.

Let’s dive into the latest Chicago Bears rumors, surrounding the team’s upcoming offseason plans.

Related: If you’re a fan of the Bears, check out #DaBears rumors, rankings, and news here.

Chicago Bears rumors: Team will ‘clean house’ after season ends

According to Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline, indications are the Chicago Bears will clean house when the NFL’s regular season concludes.

Sitting at 5-7, it’s unlikely Chicago can turn things around in time to compete for the NFL Playoffs. As a result, if the Bears allow Nagy and Pace to remain employed for the remainder of the season, both the head coach and general manager could be axed on the NFL’s Black Monday.

Of course, there’s no guarantee either man makes it to the end of the regular season. The Houston Texans kicked off this season’s firing cycle by terminating head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien.

NFL coaches fired: Latest on NFL’s coaching hot seat

The Texans aren’t the only team to clean house during the season. In October, the Atlanta Falcons fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. After Thanksgiving Day, the Detroit Lions axed head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn.

Chicago could take the same approach, firing both of its top football minds before the season ends. Another option would be to follow the Jacksonville Jaguars path, firing the general manager and keeping the head coach until the regular season concludes.

The Bears hired Nagy, who served as the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator (2016-’17), in 2018 with the hope he would turn this club into a perennial contender.

After posting a 12-4 record in his first season, winning Coach of the Year honors, Nagy’s squad has gone 13-15 since.

Of course, one decision will define both Nagy and Pace’s tenure in Chicago.

Chicago Bears rumors: Team eyeing Pat Fitzgerald for head coach

Chicago Bears rumors
Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald signals to a small group a fans during the first quarter. Mjs Uwgrid22 1 Jpg Uwgrid22

While the Bears haven’t fired anyone to this point, change seems inevitable. In fact, the team might already be laying the groundwork to make a run at its next head coach.

It’s a familiar and beloved face, too. Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald is atop the team’s list of coaching candidates to replace Nagy in 2021.

Fitzgerald has been coveted by NFL teams for years, with many around the league confident he would transition to the NFL nicely. Respected for his ability to get the most out of players and praised for his leadership, the 46-year-old has been loyal to his roots and has turned down interviews from NFL teams.

Pat Fitzgerald record and coaching background

A native of Illinois, Fitzgerald played college football at Northwestern. After bouncing around for three seasons as a grad assistant and positional coach, he returned to the Wildcats as their defensive backs coach in 2001.

Fitzgerald climbed the ladder, becoming linebackers coach )2002-’03), run-game coordinator (2004-’05) and then becoming head coach in 2006.

After winning eight total games in his first two seasons, the Wildcats made it to a bowl game in each of the following four seasons. Across 15 years at Northwestern, the Wildcats have a 104-80 record, including nine bowl game appearances.

While Fitzgerald doesn’t want to move his family, coaching the Chicago Bears would allow him to stay in the city. It would also be a chance for him to take a huge step forward in his coaching career, with Northwestern likely at its ceiling as a football program.

Chicago Bears rumors: Allen Robinson expected to depart in NFL Free Agency

Chicago Bears rumors
Nov 1, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) runs with the ball during the second half at against the New Orleans Saints Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL will lose billions of dollars in revenue this season. As a result, the 2021 salary cap is expected to drop, although recent reports suggest it might not be as bad as feared. Either way, the Bears will have little cap flexibility this offseason.

Heading into the 2021 offseason, Allen Robinson will be allowed to test free agency. Contract negotiations with Chicago went south early, even leading to trade demands during the regular season. With the Bears unlikely to use the franchise tag, Robinson is expected to walk this offseason.

Related: Ranking the top-25 NFL free agents in 2021

Once Week 17 concludes, Robinson will almost certainly never play for the Bears again. While they signed him to the first lucrative contract of his NFL career, years of below-average play at quarterback has negated Robinson’s abilities. Even without a good quarterback throwing him the ball, though, Robinson will end 2020 with his second consecutive season over 1,100 receiving yards and 90-plus receptions.

In the open market, the 27-year-old receiver will attract plenty of interest. His time in Chicago will likely lead to him prioritizing a team with an elite quarterback or a young signal-caller that offers high-end arm talent.

Meanwhile, the Bears will have holes along their entire offense. It will leave the new general manager and head coach with a lot of work to do.