January 20, 2022


Analysis

Hub Arkush: Where do Bears GM, coaching job rank among NFL openings?

Chicago Bears president Ted Phillips, left and chairman George H. McCaskey, listen to former coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace during a press conference in Jan. 2017.

Where do the desirability of the Bears’ job openings at general manager and head coach rank among positions open around the league?

With three clubs looking for GMs, the fact the Bears and the Giants are two of the NFL’s heritage franchises – the Bears its most historic and they play in the NFL’s No. 3 and No. 1 markets, respectively – gives them a big leg up over the Vikings.

The size of those markets comes with dramatically elevated media attention and pressure, but if candidates can’t handle that, they shouldn’t be applying.

The reputation of the Giants organization – a.k.a. the respect around the league for the Mara and Tisch families on the football side – gives them a clear edge over franchises built by the McCaskeys and the Wilfs, who are nowhere near as high profile as either of their competitors.

If all three GMs don’t get to hire their own head coaches, no one will want the jobs.

As for the on-field challenges new GMs will need to solve, the presence of Justin Fields and Daniel Jones as potential franchise quarterbacks – Fields quite a bit more so than Jones – again leaves the Vikings in third place with the conundrum of Kirk Cousins and his cap-choking contract.

And that is a perfect segue to the Bears’ greatest advantage: a projected $40 million in cap space. The Giants are basically even or marginally over the cap, and the Vikings have a $9 million deficit to clean up.

But the Bears are big losers when it comes to draft capital in Year 1.

The Giants have their own and the Bears’ first round-pick. In total, the Giants own five of the top 81 picks, including 5, 7, 36, 69 and 81.

The Vikings are in decent shape with the 11th, 46th and 77th picks.

The Bears will pick only at 39 and 71 before the draft’s third day.

Lastly, how much talent beyond the quarterbacks is already in place? I don’t have enough space here to break that down, and if you’re looking for a GM to win immediately – and that’s the candidate’s main concern – you’re probably talking to the wrong guys.

All things considered, I have to rank these jobs: 1. Giants, 2. Bears, 3. Vikings.

With all of that in mind, the Bears, Giants, Vikings, Dolphins, Jaguars, Texans, Broncos and Raiders are all looking for new head coaches.

While many rank the Raiders job highly, I’d eliminate them first.

If interim coach Rich Bisaccia hasn’t earned the right to keep that job despite getting the Raiders to the playoffs, how much do you want to work for owner Mark Davis? Coaches and agents talk.

I also think this is an undervalued concern: While I have absolutely nothing against Las Vegas, can you think of a market that offers more distractions and potential pitfalls while you have to manage 50 to 60 20-somethings?

Again, the presence of Fields, Jones and now Trevor Lawrence in Jacksonville and Tua Tagovailoa in Miami should be pluses.

The Bears organization, however, appears dysfunctional.

The Texans are the definition of incompetent. What they just did to David Culley feels almost like a felony, and we have no idea how to value Deshaun Watson.

Owners Shahid Khan in Jacksonville and Steven Ross in Miami can’t possibly rank any higher than the McCaskeys.

Meanwhile, Broncos ownership is unsettled and may remain that way for a while.

The biggest factor, however, for prospective head coaching candidates will be whether or not they can win with the people they’ll be working with or for, mainly the GM or head of football operations.

George Paton in Denver will attract quality applicants.

Chris Grier in Miami will have to overcome his failure with Brian Flores, as will Jacksonville’s Tent Baalke from his messy breakup with Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco along with the epic disaster of Urban Meyer – although that belongs more to Khan.

Nick Caserio owns the Culley crime in Houston.

Raiders GM Mike Mayock is as solid as they come, but how much authority does he have working for Davis?

With the Bears, Giants and Vikings, whom are we talking about? We’re yet to find out.

For ranking purposes, assuming those three will make quality hires and acknowledging talent already in place on each club can move these rankings, it is extremely subjective but here I go:

I’d rank the head coach openings: 1. Giants, 2. Broncos, 3. Bears, 4. Vikings, 5. Jaguars, 6. Dolphins, 7. Raiders, 8. Texans.

Hub Arkush is a Shaw Media correspondent.

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush

Hub Arkush is a Bears/NFL Insider for Shaw Media