By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor
Ryan Pace, formerly director of pro personnel for the New Orleans Saints, has been selected as the next general manager of the Chicago Bears.
Pace was among four candidates interviewed by the Bears. Others interviewed were Kansas City Chiefs Director of Player Personnel Chris Ballard, Texans Director of Pro Personnel Brian Gaine and Titans Vice President of Player Personnel Lake Dawson.
Pace will now participate in the Bears’ search for a head coach. Both General Manager Phil Emery and Head Coach Marc Trestman were fired after the Bears finished 5-11 in 2014, last in the NFC North. Trestman was 13-19 in two seasons with the team.
In addition to assisting in finding a new head coach, Pace will also be charged with determining whether to keep Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler, 31, signed a seven-year, $126 million extension with the Bears Jan. 2, 2014. That contract made him the highest-paid offensive player in the NFL last season. However, Cutler’s poor play on the field in 2014 has led some to question whether he should remain the starter in 2015.
Pace was very highly thought of in the Saints’ organization. In a press conference Jan. 6, Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis said of Pace: “I’d hate to lose him, and yet, he’s ready for a general manager’s job. He’s talented. I would expect to lose him at some point.”
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton added: “He is really good at what he does. He’s a big part of what we do. He’s very talented, and I know he has been promoted here a few times, and deservedly so.
“I get fired up when he comes to see me first thing this morning,” he added. “His mind is already racing. I know he is all-in.”
Pace played football at Eastern Illinois and joined the Saints in 2001. He was pro scouting director for six years before being promoted to director of pro personnel in 2013.
Posted Jan. 8, 2015