Will Ryan Pace’s lack of patience catch up with him?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Ryan Pace has always walked the line between going out to get his guy and lacking patience.

Before we start, this is not an argument about who is the better scheme fit, or which quarterback or players are particularly better. In fact, months before Nick Foles signed with the Chicago Bears, it was me writing that the Bears would add him, and that was met with criticism. The same people who criticized that piece will now likely find an issue with this one as well.

Nonetheless, this is not about which decision Ryan Pace has made at quarterback as much as it is about how he has gone about it.

Early into free agency this year Ryan Pace traded a draft pick for Nick Foles and gave Jimmy Graham a contract that many did not think he would get. The Bears needed a quarterback and tight end, and Pace was not going to wait. He was going to get his guys.

However, in March, there is no rush to get your guys. We just saw Cam Newton sign last week to play with Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick. Even more recently David Njoku has demanded a trade and is available.

Think about it, the Matt Nagy scheme is so hard that only Foles can run it, and they NEEDED to sign Foles six months before the start of the season when the McDaniels scheme is so easy that they can sign Newton, a complete contrast to Tom Brady about two months before the season.

Again, this is not about Foles or Newton. The fact of the matter is that the Jaguars, like the Panthers, did with Cam Newton, and the Bengals with Andy Dalton were stuck between a rock and a hard place. There was not a significant market for quarterbacks, and it showed as free agent Jameis Winston waited and waited for a chance as well. You can argue the Jaguars would not have released Foles but is very disingenuous when you look at how more prominently known franchise quarterbacks were treated this offense.

Belichick did not rush, he was patient. He had a price for Newton, just like he probably had a price for Foles, and a price for Andy Dalton, etc. He was not going to go over that price. Ryan Pace rushed. He was aggressive but went out of his way to trade for Foles when the market did not indicate that was necessary.

If the Bears do not trade for Foles who does? The only coaches Foles had any success with were on one team. As noted, I knew in March what the Bears hand was. No one made sense for Foles other than Chicago. The Cowboys, Saints, and Patriots sat around and got the other options at discounts because no other team had a need for a veteran quarterback. Foles would have joined Newton, Winston, and Dalton and the Bears would have gotten to choose between all three.

Foles restructured his contract to come to Chicago and that is great, but the Bears could have used the fact that three other quarterbacks were on the market to restructure his deal anyways, and potentially get him even cheaper. What Foles is guaranteed in 2020 is about the maximum amount any of those other three quarterbacks can make. The Bears could have gotten him on a cheaper, a more incentive-based deal had they waited. They also traded a fourth-round pick for him. Liking Foles over Newton, Winston, and Dalton is fine. Showing your hand early, losing leverage and spending the most to get him is what does not make sense.

The fourth-round pick would have come in handy around now or even the NFL draft. With the recent news that David Njoku is available all media is laughing that the Chicago Bears will add him to their collection of tight ends. However, had the Bears not rushed to go out and overpay Graham, that option very well would have been on the table.

Sure, Graham is a bigger name so far, but he is also nine years older and making $3 million more than Njoku. There is an unproven upside in Njoku, and a combination of Njoku and Cole Kmet could have been worth building around. However, with Graham in the mix, and a draft pick sent to Foles, that is out of the window.

Again, this is not to say that Njoku would have been a slam dunk fit, and Graham will be an old bust. However, the market showed that if they were patient, they could have got Njoku much cheaper than Graham. If they were patient at quarterback, they would have had the assets to make the decision easy.

It is not about a team with Cam Newton and David Njoku against a team with Jimmy Graham and Nick Foles. However, there certainly is a lot of upside with the former. Still, the issue is $12.6 million for Foles and Graham when Njoku and Newton will cost $4.2 million. The picks to acquire Njoku would be about the same as Foles. You have to be three times as confident in Foles and Graham as Njoku and Newton, and that takes a lot of confidence.

We have highlighted in the past that Ryan Pace has a bad habit of trading up. Sometimes he hits on his trade-ups, but sometimes he whiffs hard. Every time, he gives up draft assets that would help his team in the long term. No team trades down as much as the New England Patriots, who stack mid-round picks and let competition bring out the best of young rookie salary players.

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It is slowly starting to take away from the depth of the roster. Other teams have sat back and let veterans come to them, while Pace has gotten aggressive and overpaid for names. After doing this for years, will it finally catch up to him? Is Newton, who is making less and cost left draft capital than Foles excels with Josh McDaniels in New England, someone is going to have to answer for it.