Ryan Pace inherited Jay Cutler when he became the Chicago Bears general manager in 2015. From there, he signed Mike Glennon to a big contract. Then he traded up to draft Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall. Then he cut Glennon and added perennial backup Chase Daniel as completion. Finally, in 2020, he traded for and reworked Nick Foles' contract, who was benched in favor of a lame-duck Trubisky this season.
The merry-go-round will continue in 2021.
With Bears chairman George McCaskey bringing back Pace and Matt Nagy for another season, the GM and coach get yet another chance to figure out a solution at the position.
The mandate from management is to answer the QB question finally. Pace is well aware of the pressure on him to find a long-term solution, or it'll be another person making the next choice.
"We definitely need more out of the [QB] position," Pace said Wednesday. "We know that. What does that entail? That's what this whole offseason is about."
Both Pace and Nagy repeatedly pointed to collaboration and conviction as the main reasons why they are confident they can get the decision right this time around.
"Everything is on the table right now," Pace said.
Trubisky, who had his fifth-year contract declined last year, heads into free agency. The QB was benched in Week 3, returned in Week 12, played well against bad defenses down the stretch, then struggled the last two weeks. Given how Nagy handled his QB against playoff teams, Green Bay and New Orleans, it seems difficult to imagine Trubisky would be the answer under center moving forward.
Pace didn't want to get into whether the team would consider bringing Trubisky back in 2021.
"Everything's on the table," the GM blandly reiterated.
Both Nagy and Pace repeatedly discussed going through the process to evaluate the QB position and determine the next move. As Adam Jahns of The Athletic pointed out, the GM-coach duo's process and collaboration last year resulted in signing Foles. That move didn't work wonders, leaving Bears fans wondering what could have changed in the process to fix the issue this time around.
Both the general manager and coach danced around Wednesday's questions, providing little insight into what might be different in 2021 than in previous seasons.
Pace has been the Bears GM for six seasons. He has a 42-54 record with two playoff appearances, including backing into the postseason this year. Chicago has won no playoff games in Pace's tenure. Despite those facts, the GM believes he's continuing to improve in his job.
"You do learn and improve through experiences," he said. "I can confidently say I'm a lot better at this with each year of experience."
Pace's experience with the Bears includes paying heavily and repeatedly missing at the QB position. By the grace of those above him on the totem pole in Chicago, he and Nagy will have one more shot at finally getting it right.