Much to the surprise of no one, the Chicago Bears weren’t active ahead of the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday. Even though they had some key veterans that would’ve drawn intrigue, including Allen Robinson and Akiem Hicks.
While Chicago didn’t make any moves right before the deadline, general manager Ryan Pace did make a couple of moves this year. The Bears traded wide receiver Anthony Miller to the Houston Texans and Chicago acquired return specialist Jakeem Grant from the Miami Dolphins.
Here’s what we learned from the Bears standing pat at the trade deadline:
Ryan Pace isn’t safe
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There’s been a lot of uncertainty about the future of Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy, including the lack of clarity about how long their respective contracts run with the organization. But considering where Chicago is at 3-5 and designated for another mediocre-at-best season, Pace and Nagy’s jobs certainly feel like they’re on the line. And if that’s the case, selling off key veterans to acquire future draft capital isn’t going to help them win now.
Or Ryan Pace is safe
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On the flip side, this could also be an indication that Pace and Nagy — or at least Pace — are safe beyond 2021. If the Bears really are in win-now mode, we might’ve seen Pace make some moves to bolster the roster if his job depended on it. Pace standing pat with the roster he currently has — maintaining the belief that they’re still contenders — could indicate that Pace is already safe through at least 2022.
Bears wasted an opportunity
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Regardless of whether Pace and Nagy are safe or not, the Bears wasted an opportunity to acquire future draft capital to help build around their young franchise quarterback. There were several veterans that should’ve drawn some interest, including wide receiver Allen Robinson, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and perhaps either quarterback Andy Dalton or Nick Foles. Instead, Pace did what he does best and remains complacent rather than try to get something for players that won’t be on the roster next season (except Foles).
We get nine more games of Allen Robinson
AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio
Just a few months ago, the thought of trading Allen Robinson would’ve been a point of controversy. But given Robinson hasn’t found success on offense or chemistry with rookie Justin Fields, along with the fact that he’s not returning to Chicago next year, it would’ve made sense to try and get something for Robinson while he’s still under the franchise tag. The Bears might’ve felt that a compensatory pick might draw more than what they were being offered for Robinson. Or they just missed an opportunity to get future draft capital to use to build around Fields.
Nick Foles continues to waste a roster spot
AP Photo/Wade Payne
The only reason Nick Foles is on the roster is because it would cost more to release him than keep him, which is frustrating considering his cap hit and the fact that he’s wasting a roster spot. There were a couple of quarterback-needy teams out there, and it’s frustrating that the Bears couldn’t find a way to trade Foles, who’s under contract through 2022. Now, Chicago has two backup quarterbacks eating up $11.6 million in salary cap space this season.
We really shouldn’t have expected any moves
Kamil Krzaczynski/Chicago Tribune via AP
While there are plenty of frustrated Bears fans following the team’s lack of involvement ahead of the trade deadline, history indicated that this was always going to be the outcome. When you look at Pace’s history as Bears general manager, he’s made just three trades in-season, including trading Jared Allen in 2015, acquiring Dontrelle Inman in 2017 and acquiring Jakeem Grant in 2021. Just because history indicated that Pace likely wasn’t going to be active, despite his claims to an “aggressive mindset,” it doesn’t mean he was in the right.