CHICAGO — As the Chicago Bears prepare to take on the Green Bay Packers to kickoff the second half of the 2017 season, there is one more report card to complete — general manager Ryan Pace’s.
General managers can’t be expected to bat 1.000 on personnel moves and coaching decisions any more than pitchers can be expected to have 0.00 earned run averages.
If 2.50 is a great ERA, and it is, than a GM that bats .500 is outstanding.
So let’s actually break this down.
Pace’s 2015 free agent class included Pernell McPhee, Eddie Royal, Antrel Rolle, Tracy Porter, Jarvis Jenkins, Sam Acho, Alan Ball, Vladimir Ducasse, Mason Foster, Thomas Gafford, Ray McDonald, Dante Rosario and Jacquizz Rodgers.
McDonald and Rolle were big busts, while McPhee, Porter and Acho became important contributors, and Royal, Ball, Jenkins, Ducasse and Rodgers played meaningful minutes before moving on.
That’s a .615 batting average for participation, .231 for quality adds and .154 for bust factor.
Grading the group, you have to take into account this was Pace’s opening moves at cleaning up the mess left by Phil Emery and Marc Trestman, so there was a quantity over quality aspect.
I think it’s fair to call it a B- or C+.
2016 free agency brought Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, Bobby Massie, Akiem Hicks, Aaron Brewer, Manny Ramirez, Ted Larsen, Omar Bolden and Josh Sitton.
Hicks, Sitton, Trevathan and Massie are looking like excellent additions, only Freeman is looking bad right now and all but Brewer, Ramirez and Bolden brought something.
That’s .667 for participation, .444 for quality adds and just a .111 bust factor — assuming that’s where Freeman ends up.
With the outstanding play of Hicks, Trevathan and Sitton, it’s fair to call this group an A- or B+.
So far this year, free agency has yielded Mike Glennon, Mark Sanchez, Prince Amukamara, Marcus Cooper, Quintin Demps, B.W. Webb, Benny Cunningham, Kendall Wright, Markus Wheaton, Dion Sims, Tom Compton, Brad Sowell and John Jenkins.
Only Jenkins and Webb are gone, I think you have to call Glennon more a big disappointment than a bust, I was unimpressed with Demps and Wheaton has to be an incomplete.
That’s a .615 for participation not including Sanchez, whose contributions are hard to measure; Amukamara, Cooper, Cunningham, Wright, Sims and Compton are making a difference for a .462 add percentage, and Glennon and Demps are pointing toward busts so the bust factor is a .154.
With just half a season in the books, it’s not fair to grade this group but it has the feel of a B- or C + right now.
Normally we’d have a grade on the 2015 draft by now, but with the injuries to Kevin White and Hroniss Grasu it’s impossible.
Scream all you want but Pace bares no blame for White breaking three different bones, and Eddie Goldman is playing at a very high level, while Adrian Amos is a much-improved starter as well.
Eight of nine ’16 picks are still here, Jordan Howard and Leonard Floyd are looking special and Cody Whitehair was an All Rookie pick, too, and Jonathan Bullard, Nick Kwiatkoski and Deiondre Hall have shown real promise.
It has the makings of an outstanding class.
Yes, I hated the "Trubisky trade" but all we know as far as long-range predictions about this year’s group is the excitement every time Mitch Trubisky, Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson are around the ball.
I don’t see how Pace gets less than a B for his drafts — and that grade could still go up.
One other note: the identification of undrafted rookie free agents — Bryce Callahan, Jonathan Anderson, Cam Meredith, John Timu, Roy Robertson-Harris, Ben Braunecker, Tanner Gentry and Isaiah Irving — has been outstanding.
As far as coaching choices, clearly there are better game managers than John Fox, but let’s see where all this young talent is at the end of this season.
Unfortunately, there is no way to grade or judge a general manager without some level of subjectivity, but with a whole bunch of objective measurement here as well, I don’t see how Pace gets less than a B, and it’s hard to avoid the feeling his arrow may be pointing up.