By Chris Emma–
(CBS) On Monday afternoon, Bears coach John Fox took to the podium inside the swanky new media room at Halas Hall and spoke of hope for this 2015 season already drifting away.READ MORE: Two Teens Charged In Clearing Carjacking
Among the many noteworthy quotes from Fox following Chciago’s 26-0 loss in Seattle on Sunday was saying how they need to score more than zero points to win football games. He tried to look at the good things his team did in a game in which it punted 10 times on 10 offensive possessions.
“It wasn’t all bad,” Fox said of his 0-3 team getting shut out.
Hey, hey, Mr. Brightside.
Meanwhile, Fox’s boss, rookie general manager Ryan Pace, was in an office where he once watched every game of the 2014 Bears’ misery. He was working the phones, trying to garner whatever assets he could in exchange for some of the Bears’ desirable pieces.
If it wasn’t clear to Pace when he took on this job that the Bears were lacking team talent, then he’s not good at evaluating players. Of course, he knew it — Chicago’s lacking what it takes to compete for the playoffs.
Shortly after Fox’s declaration of — well — something, Pace had packaged former superstar defensive end Jared Allen, now a struggling outside linebacker, for a sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft. The Bears were content with eating the $11.5 million he was paid this offseason, because it meant another draft pick.
Hours later came another deal: Jon Bostic, a second-round pick in 2013, was sent to Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots, as reported by ESPN.com. The Bears have picked up another sixth-round selection for the 2016 draft.
While Bostic’s a young player who perhaps has his best years ahead, the only surprise of this swap was getting a draft pick in return for Bostic. Of course, how could one doubt Belichick?
The beleaguered Bears are starting over, the reason Fox and Pace were brought to Chicago. The organization needs to make up for years of bad drafting from Jerry Angelo and Phil Emery, whose players are being dispatched one after the other.
Even if those sixth-round picks turn into special teamers and not the next Tom Brady, it could help the Bears prevent kickoffs returned for touchdowns in consecutive weeks during the 2018 season.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Weekend Warmup Continues
What came of Monday was a clear direction for Pace’s vision for the Bears, a franchise now in rebuilding mode.
“Whether it is acquiring additional picks or signing players, we will continue to be aggressive in finding ways to improve our football team,” Pace said in light of the Allen trade.
That meant more would be coming, and it was followed by Bostic’s departure. That may just be the beginning.
Improving the Bears, still winless, means dumping any asset not necessary for the future — no matter the importance for the 2015 team — in exchange for value moving forward. The first name that comes to mind now is 29-year-old running back Matt Forte, who’s in the final year of his contract with Chicago.
And what about dealing linebackers Willie Young or Lamarr Houston? Similar to Allen, they’re better fits in a 4-3 defense. How about veteran safety Antrel Rolle? If there’s a taker, sure.
Oh, and Jay Cutler? Hey, if a team is willing to take on the remaining salary load, then move forward with Jimmy Clausen for the 2015 season and ensure you’ll lose more games. The Bears are playing for their future.
It’s become clear that the Bears are a team more likely to compete for the first overall pick in the 2016 draft than a playoff berth. Even the most optimistic of fans would struggle to make a case for this team fighting for the postseason.
Heck, even Fox was stuck making a case for the Bears’ punt protection on each of their 10 punts.
While it’s the job of Fox to get the most of this 2015 team — a daunting task, indeed — it’s Pace’s role to build the Bears for the future. Any piece of value is important.
With all due respect to Fox’s hopes for 2015, Pace’s plan for the future is what takes precedent. We’re about to see the rebuild become very real.MORE NEWS: At Least 10 Shot, 1 Killed In Weekend Violence In Chicago
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.