Ryan Pace’s successes:
The Draft: Eddie Goldman DT, Adrian Amos S, Leonard Floyd OLB, Cody Whitehair OL, and Jordan Howard RB
In two drafts, Pace has added Pro Bowl talent to the team. Goldman anchored of the defensive line all of last season and has continued his strong play this season. Adrian Amos is one of the only consistent performers in Chicago’s secondary, and he has proven to be a big hitter. Leonard Floyd struggled early, but has come on strong the last three weeks. The Bears have sorely missed a pass rushing threat since Julius Peppers left town. On the offensive side of the ball, Whitehair and Howard look to be stalwarts for years to come.
Free Agency: Pernell McPhee OLB, Jerrell Freeman LB, Danny Trevathan LB, Tracy Porter CB, Josh Sitton G
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The Bears were relatively quiet in free agency leading up to the 2015 season. However, Ryan Pace made sure to sign a big name to headline the new 3-4 defense. Pernell McPhee was out for the first 6 games of the year, but he has been an unstoppable force ever since. Tracy Porter was another veteran added in 2015 who brought great value to a weak Chicago secondary.
Where Ryan Pace worked his magic most was in 2016 free agency. He addressed the Bears’ weakest positions. He fixed Chicago’s abysmal linebacking corps with two potential Pro Bowl candidates in Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan. Pace then added a major piece to the offensive line with a Pro Bowl guard in Josh Sitton. Not only were the above signings huge boosts for the team, Pace was also able to sign them at bargain level contracts with the exception of Sitton.
Trades: Brandon Marshall to Jets and Martellus Bennett to the Patriots
The Marshall trade garnered a considerable amount of negative press, but it should be considered a huge win for Pace. Marshall had raised a considerable stir in the Bears’ locker room throughout the 2014 season. Despite Pace’s negative position at the bargaining table, he managed to get a 5th round pick out of the Jets. While a 5th round pick seemed unfair for a Pro Bowl receiver, Pace used the pick on Adrian Amos who hasn’t missed a start since becoming a Bear.
Pace managed a similar feat with Martellus Bennett. The Bears would have been forced to drop Bennett if a trade couldn’t be reached. Instead of cutting Bennett, the Bears got a 4th round pick in exchange for Bennet and the Bears’ 6th round pick. The 4th round pick was used to draft Deiondre’ Hall who showed flashes early in the season. Pace’s ability to make something out of nothing with these trades is another positive on his resume.