Lombardi: Bears will have difficult time attracting a top-tier coach if they retain Ryan Pace

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(670 The Score) As change looms for the Bears at season’s end, general manager Ryan Pace’s future remains a mystery.

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Pace has led the Bears to just one winning season and no playoff victories in his seven-year tenure in Chicago, but he has also endeared himself to the McCaskey family and – despite some high-profile mishaps in the first round – has a strong track record of work in the middle and late rounds of the NFL Draft. That has led to speculation that the Bears could keep Pace in his general manager post – or perhaps transition him to a different role in the organization.

In the mind of Audacy Sports insider Michael Lombardi, retaining Pace would hurt the Bears in their search for a new coach, assuming Matt Nagy is fired at season’s end. Lombardi doesn’t believe the best coaching candidates would be drawn to the Bears if Pace is still around.

“I know that to acquire a great coach, that coach will want to have symmetry with the front office,” Lombardi said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Wednesday morning. “And that doesn’t mean he wants to have all the power, but he wants to be able to have say, to have input and to trust the person that stands beside him to pick players. If they choose to keep Pace – and that’s certainly their right to do – that will limit, that will limit the available candidates on the outside. Because guys that have options, guys that are going to wait for the next hiring cycle are not going to come in when Ryan Pace has built this team. And you’re saying, ‘Wait a minute, I know (Matt) Nagy may not have been the best coach, but he didn’t really always get the best hand.’ And I think that becomes a real issue. To me just knowing how the NFL is, for them to attract a legitimately high-level coach that has options, it’s going to be a challenge.”

Listen to Lombardi’s full interview by clicking here.