Starting with an expansive roster of candidates for general manager and head coach positions, the Chicago Bears embark on a parallel quest, necessarily facing some unique opportunities as they seek to recruit the right talent.
The other two teams, the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Giants, are also conducting double searches. Six teams have coaching vacancies, and if the Las Vegas Raiders position is opened by Special Team Coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who is currently interim coach, there will be seven.
Chairman George McCuskey said the Bears want to hire a CEO first, but if they find the right coach, and he’s the perfect fit, he doesn’t rule out hiring in reverse order.
The Bears only had two winning seasons in McCuskey’s 11-year career at the top of the franchise, and decided to clean up after season 6-11 left them third in NFC North. They fired Ryan Pace after seven years as general manager, and coach Matt Nagy was fired after a four-year hiatus and a record 34-33, including the postseason.
How attractive is the job of a Bears coach? Quarterback Justin Fields is considered a young player with great potential. The owner has supported his football business by recently investing a ton of money to renovate Halas Hall. Bears are considered an attractive home and have several young talents in their lineup.
The Tribune surveyed 19 league leaders, coaches and veteran agents with knowledge of team lineups and principles, asking them to rate seven openings for the Raiders.
“The only thing everyone is focusing on is who is the quarterback,” said one general manager who ranked the Bears in second place. – This is the wrong approach, and I did so. You never know what’s going to happen, so focus on ownership and (be they) give you a chance to win.
“Wherever you go, everything is broken for whatever reason. If you have a quarterback, great, but focus on the owner who gets it. ”
Not all were rated as highly by the Bears, who finished in sixth place in the poll, although the responses regarding property and the city were positive. Some relied heavily on the quarterback on the roster. Others considered the overall strength of the squad, the presence of a CEO (if any), recent history, division, and other factors.
The poll assigned the first-place team on each ballot one point, the second team two points, and so on.
1. Las Vegas Raiders (50 points)
The Raiders are the only playoff team in the group and owner Mark Davis could keep Bisaccia, but some believe they will have to win their wildcard round against the Cincinnati Bengals to keep him safe. Quarterback Derek Carr has been described by many as a big plus for the job. Some had questions about Grandmaster Mike Mayok.
“They need defensive playmakers, and they really need help in secondary roles, especially as a full-back,” said one executive. “They need speed offensively, but Derek Carr is a good quarterback. Not a bad line-up, even though I don’t think they were really well prepared under Mike Mayoka. This job looks better if they find a GM that I like. ”
One seasoned scout added, who ranked the Raiders first in his poll: “Proven winning quarterback. Managed property, new stadium, fans. ”
“This is the playoff squad with Carr and the pass rushers. It’s a plus when you walk in, ”said the professional HR director.
“No way,” wrote one grandmaster who placed the “Raiders” in seventh place.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (55 points)
The Jaguars had the same number of votes for first place (five) as the Raiders, but they also received a few low ratings. Those who like the start cite quarterback Trevor Lawrence, wide-open salary caps, and additional capital to draft picks. Some have voiced concerns about the presence of CEO Trent Baalke.
“I wouldn’t miss an opportunity with a quarterback,” one executive said. “There’s a little pressure from the fans and the media base, but you need to have your CEO or HR director there, which I think the owner would do. Overall (Shad Khan) was patient with the results and the process. ”
One scout said: “There is a great lack of talent in defense. They need a lot of help on this side of the ball and that won’t happen next year. ”
“I think the owner will spend the money to help you,” GM said.
“They are in second place for me, but only if they have a new general manager,” said one national scout.
“These are the Jaguars,” said the seasoned professional scout, who placed them in seventh place.
3. Denver Broncos (60)
The Broncos may have the best squad apart from the quarterback, so they got four votes out of five. Those who mentioned Grandmaster George Paton spoke positively of him. The team is expected to be listed for sale, creating suspense.
“They don’t have a quarterback, but they have a lot of other things – young and talented sidelines, they are good at attacking, they have flank receiver talent, and Javonte Williams will be returning to the NFL,” one of the scouts said. “This team is determined to win, but they don’t have a quarterback and they have to take a big step. If they had QB this year, Vic Fangio is still the coach, and in the worst case they are third or fourth in the AFC. ”
– Who is the quarterback? – said one experienced scout. “Who is the owner. An excellent grandmaster, an excellent fan base, and generally good young players. ”
– Who is the next owner? said one grandmaster.
“What if they get Aaron Rogers?” – said the professional director of personnel.
4. Minnesota Vikings (66)
The Vikings were in the middle of the list with the most answers and received six votes for No. 3. Like the Raiders, they have a veteran quarterback in Kirk Cousins, but he is not as popular with sociologists as Carr.
“They have an elite receiver in Justin Jefferson, and while Kirk Cousins has a lower ceiling, he has a higher level than many quarterbacks,” said one scout. “I can work with this for a while if need be. I also like Dalvin Cook and there are some young talents in the offensive line. They need young talents to defend. ”
Another veteran scout added: “The situation is much better than that of the Jaguars. However, Cousins and his cap hit the mark and the consistency situation will be difficult to resolve. ”
“Cousins is looking for what’s bad, but there are talent on the list,” said the professional director of human resources. “This is a bigger refurbishment than most people probably think, but the stadium and infrastructure are top-notch and the owners aren’t afraid to pay for the players.”
“The Wilfs are patient owners who provide everything they need to win,” GM said.
5. Miami Dolphins (90)
The Dolphins surprised some by firing coach Brian Flores after three years. He became a bear candidate. The Dolphins were the first team in NFL history to lose seven games in a row and win seven in a row in a single season, so they have some details.
“There are really good defensive players at all three levels,” the scout said. “The offensive line needs improvement and they need more talent in positions. They haven’t had runners for a long time. ”
“The reason I don’t have them higher is the quarterback,” said one scout who ranked the Dolphins in sixth place. “You have to build everything around Tua Tagovailoa. He can play from below, but it’s hard to have a vertical element with him. ”
“The owner is impulsive,” said one national scout.
He added about the scout: “I have them third by default. GM is a huge part there. ”
6. Bears (92)
The Bears received six votes for fourth place and six votes for sixth, dropping just below the dolphins. The bears only had two votes above the fourth – one first and one second. Fields was viewed as either a positive or a wild card, and the Bears were knocked out for lack of attacking elements around the quarterback and offensive line.
“I like Justin Fields,” said one scout. “He has an advantage if he is trained correctly, and there are some pieces in defense. They need to tackle the offensive line, and they sorely lack offensive weapons. They need to move a lot offensively, so Fields has a better chance of winning. ”
“This is a development advocate in Chicago,” said one National Scout. “The city and the fans make it attractive.”
“I’ve always looked at the Bears as a team that is pretty patient with the coach,” said one of the coaches, who placed them in fourth place. “They could have fired the coach last year, but they didn’t. I like some of the younger players, and if you can get this to work with Fields, you can win there pretty quickly. ”
He added about the HR director: “There are top-10 defense with some features. Fields will be either a plus or a minus. You can kind of drive it, and it’s not your fault if it doesn’t work. It will buy you a little time, if nothing else. However, the list needs to be improved. ”
“From the outside, ownership seems to provide everything a football team can dream of, and it’s always part of the equation,” said the director of the college’s scouting department. – It’s not like that everywhere.
7. New York Giants (119)
The Giants got one vote for fourth place and three fifths, and all other responses were lower, with serious reservations about quarterback Daniel Jones, overall squad, unknown CEO position, and head coaches’ revolving door. Ten respondents ranked the giants in last place.
“The quarterback at his best is a low-level player,” said one scout. “They’ve done too many expensive and bad free agency contracts. The attack is really bad and they need help defending. ”
“I would have questions about ownership,” said the national scout. “They’ve had three different coaches over the past six years.”
GM added: “Fighting QB, fighting for squad, fighting for ownership. Like Chicago, it’s a great place, but the media is brutal and you can work with so many more people and focus on getting better in a place like Jacksonville. ”
“Yes, this is a complete overhaul, but the Giants are blue blood in the NFL,” said the professional director of human resources.
One GM assistant said, “No talent.”