Ryan Pace’s failures:
The Draft: Kevin White WR, no QB
It’s hard to label any player a bust after a year or less. Players like Hroniss Grasu, and Deon Bush could easily prove to be busts in a couple years. However, one player is quickly cementing his legacy as a bust, Kevin White. Injuries are a part of football, but missing all but 4 games in two years is a bad way to start a career. White showed flashes of greatness, but if his career were over today, he would be a bust. Pace only missing on one pick wouldn’t be so bad if White wasn’t a first rounder. Good teams depend on their first round picks being long time contributors to the team.
Also, Pace has never selected a QB in the draft. Not even a developmental quarterback in the 7th round, NO quarterbacks whatsoever. Cutler is over 30 years old, the next QB needs to come from somewhere.
Free Agency: Matt Forte RB, Matt Slauson OL, Antrel Rolle S
Allowing free agents to walk has been Pace’s problem more than signing bad players. Matt Forte lead the Bears on offense and was willing to take a hometown discount to stay in Chicago. However, Pace didn’t even bring him to the bargaining table. In this instance, Jordan Howard saved Pace. If Howard wasn’t running the show for Chicago, the absence of Matt Forte would be clear.
The absence of Matt Slauson has been far more prevalent. Slauson wouldn’t have been the cheapest free agent, but he played every single offensive snap for the Bears last season. Durability is extremely rare in offensive lineman, and Slauson’s ability to play both center and guard would have been huge when injuries started to occur for Chicago. Cody Whitehair has stepped in admirably, but with Kyle Long out for the rest of the year, Slauson’s presence will be missed.
Pace has only made one major misstep in signing players since 2015, Antrel Rolle. The veteran safety was supposed to mentor a young Adrain Amos and anchor the young secondary. Instead, Rolle was either hurt or ineffective the whole season. Pace cut his losses after one year and cut Rolle.
Trades: Trading up for Leonard Floyd
Every spot in the first round has considerable value. It cost the Bears a 4th round pick to move from 9th to 11th and draft Leonard Floyd. This isn’t a criticism of picking Floyd, but the move was largely unnecessary. The Giants and Buccaneers were in the market for cover corners, not pass rushers. It’s good that Pace knew who he wanted, but moving up was unnecessary and costly.