Bears retain Ryan Pace, Matt Nagy for 2021 season

The Bears are coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons.
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By 670 The Score

(670 The Score) After weeks of uncertainty and days of deliberation, the Bears have retained general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy for the 2021 season.

The news first surfaced in multiple reports Tuesday evening and then was confirmed as the Bears held a season-ending press conference Wednesday morning with chairman George McCaskey, president Ted Phillips, general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy speaking. The decision means Pace will continue into his seventh year leading the Bears' football operations, while Nagy will return for his fourth season on the sideline in Chicago.

"We have exactly the right football culture that all teams strive for," Phillips said, noting that the "fire everyone" mentality isn't a "recipe for success."

Neither Pace nor Nagy received a contract extension, McCaskey said. It's unclear whether Pace has one or two seasons left on his contract, and Phillips refused to answer that direct question Wednesday. Nagy is under contract through 2022, according to previous reports.

The Bears are coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons. In this most recent one, they landed the No. 7 seed in the NFC in an expanded playoff field by virtue of holding a tiebreaker against the Cardinals. The Bears then lost 21-9 to the Saints on Sunday in the wild-card round. Chicago had an up-and-down 2020 season, starting 5-1 before losing six straight games and then winning three of its final four to sneak into the playoffs.

"We do think the foundation is in place," Phillips said.

Hired as the Bears' general manager in January 2015, Pace is 42-54 in the regular season in his six-year tenure. Chicago is 0-2 in the postseason under his watch. Nagy was brought in as Pace's second head coaching hire in January 2018, replacing John Fox in that position. He's 28-20 in three seasons leading the Bears, including the same 0-2 mark in the playoffs.

The Bears have just one winning season under Pace's direction -- a 12-4 campaign in 2018 in which they won the NFC North. Pace earned recognition as the Sporting News Executive of the Year for his work, while Nagy was honored as the AP Coach of the Year that season.

While Pace and Nagy are coming back, the Bears will have a key position to fill. Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will retire, according to reports.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.