Bernstein: Ryan Pace, Bears repeat history amid skepticism

Pace's history with quarterback mitigates some of the excitement around the big addition of Justin Fields.

(670 The Score) Bears general manager Ryan Pace kept himself around long enough to do it again.

In the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday evening, Pace traded a package of picks that included a first-rounder next year to the Giants, jumping up nine spots to select Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, and an all-too-recent pattern is repeated just after his most high-profile draft target left town a disappointment. It's not fair to Fields that he has to bear any burden of bad memories, but here we are.

Andy Dalton gets to be Mike Glennon this time around, earning the free agent paycheck and the promise of starting, one validated by an official tweet of him designated "QB 1."

It's now only a matter of time for when that becomes not true. Dalton already isn't the most important quarterback in town, regardless of how many games he might start.

Fields is a genuine prospect, with a body of work well beyond that of the counterpart to whom he's compared in this exercise, and it's just the latest chance for coach Matt Nagy and his cabinet of quarterback experts to prove that they know what they're doing.

But a well-earned sense of skepticism now sits heavily on the Bears' draft experience, mitigating what should be the usual excitement over renewed promise at the most important position in sports.

​It all traces back to that sad year-end press conference in January, the public exposure of the Bears' low expectations and nonexistent accountability for any decisions made by anyone in their intentionally nebulous chain of command. That they had no idea how damaging it was just added another layer to the comedy of manners, even stumbling ahead with more of it as chairman George McCaskey made the ensuing media rounds to reinforce how little one must do to be viewed as competent and deserving of ongoing responsibility.

We have no idea how sturdy Pace even is in his position, because the team refuses to share his contract details. We can only guess at his level of immediacy or desperation that motivates another move like this one, let alone know how this will be judged.

The subtext of their rival's instability was simmering throughout the evening, too, with conflicting reports of a disgruntled Aaron Rodgers whipsawing from inevitable pending trades to the Packers' utter refusal to even accept phone calls. No matter where the truth is between a mere contract extension leverage play and genuine desire to leave Green Bay, the chance to even imagine such a seismic effect on a division's competitive order merits ongoing consideration.

That might end up being more material to the Bears' immediate future than anything they do themselves, and that tells its own story.

The Bears act as if the Mitchell Trubisky mistake never happened, is the point, that the surrendering of so much valuable capital to move up to make the commitment to a guy who didn't do the job had no negative consequences whatsoever for any involved in his drafting or development. His kind of busting out usually gets somebody fired, but in this case it allowed them to try it all again almost immediately.

It's not that it can't or won't work -- it most certainly could.

But ​even if it doesn't, we know that doesn't matter as much to the Bears as it does to some of us.

Dan Bernstein is the co-host of the Bernstein & Rahimi Show on middays from 9 a.m. until noon on 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan_Bernstein.

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