Free agency success does not often equate to the field. Frequently the team making the largest cash splash in March lands with a deadened thump come September and beyond. But what Bears GM Ryan Pace has achieved in the first week of free agency is nothing short of a miracle.
Go through the league. Every team. And find the most improved position groups. Outside of the Giants defensive line, whose makeover cost about three hundred zillion dollars, one could argue the two most significantly upgraded positions in the NFL are on the Chicago Bears roster at inside linebacker and right guard.
The Bears started 2015 with a combination of Shea McClellin and Christian Jones at inside linebacker. Their best performances at the position all season ultimately came from Jonathan Anderson and John Timu. (And neither made anybody forget about Mike Singletary’s intimidating glare.) In 2016 the Bears will start Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, two of the best linebackers in the sport this past year, and they were both acquired at an affordable rate.
Right guard for the Bears in 2015 was an undebatable ‘F’. Vlad Ducasse is not a professional football player and yet professional football teams continue employing him. When Kyle Long reassumes his natural position, thanks to Pace’s acquisition of Bobby Massie from Arizona, the Bears will be going from the heater at 7-11 to Weiner’s Circle at a pivotal position in John Fox’s run-first philosophy.
Pace has done the two essential things a smart GM must do at the onset of free agency. (1) Honestly evaluate the talent on one’s own roster. The Jerry Angelo era proved this is not as easy as many think. (2) Find economically efficient means of improvement.
The Saints front office has been roundly criticized for crafting shit contracts to assemble their talented roster. Pace seems to have brought the best attributes from New Orleans while leaving the dreck behind. We got the music of Frenchmen and fried chicken at Wille Mae’s and muffuletta at Napoleon House and the signature par 5 fifteenth at English Turn. He didn’t stick us with the sexual assaults on Bourbon and rampant gun violence in the outer wards.
Its been a magical opening week of free agency . The Bears are better. Ryan Pace is the reason.