The Chicago Bears announced Thursday that they have hired Saints director of player personnel Ryan Pace as their new general manager.
BREAKING: The #Bears have hired Ryan Pace as their new general manager.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) January 8, 2015
This news does come as a bit of a surprise as it appeared as though Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard was well positioned to land the job.
Pace spent the past 14 seasons with the Saints, serving as the team’s operations assistant (2001), scouting assistant (2002-03), pro scout (2004-06) and director of pro scouting (2007-12).
“I’d hate to lose him and yet, he’s ready for a general manager’s job,” Saints GM Mickey Loomis said. “He’s talented. I would expect to lose him at some point.”
Larry Holder points out that the Saints actually blocked Pace from meeting with the Dolphins last year, but with his contract up, this was no longer an option for New Orleans.
Pace had also found interest from the Jets regarding their vacant GM position, but he elected to pull his name out of the running.
Reports from earlier in the week had mentioned that Pace was likely to take on more responsibilities with the Saints, due to Loomis working with the New Orleans Pelicans, but Loomis later refuted this idea.
The Bears also interviewed Ballard, Texans director of player personnel Brian Gaine and Titans vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson for their general manager position.
His first task for the Bears will be to find the team’s next head coach.
The pool of candidates for the Bears job reportedly includes: Broncos DC Jack Del Rio, Seahawks DC Dan Quinn, Broncos OC Adam Gase, former Bills HC Doug Marrone, Ravens OC Gary Kubiak and Cardinals DC Todd Bowles.