ATM: Bears, Wolf Could Be Perfect Pairing

| December 1st, 2020

The interview would be simple.

Former Packers and Browns executive Eliot Wolf, son of the famed Ron Wolf, would explain to George McCaskey one simple truth: he wants to beat the Packers as much as anyone in and around Halas Hall.

The reason Wolf isn’t already a general manager in the league is because the Packers wouldn’t let him leave. Wolf was said to be the favorite for the Detroit Lions job that ultimately went to Bob Quinn but he was never even allowed to interview for it. The Packers did let him speak with the 49ers about their GM opening, but that wasn’t a traditional GM job, as the coach they were certainly hiring — Kyle Shanahan — would have the keys to the organization. Wolf withdrew from that possibility thinking he would be next in line for the soon-to-open Packers job.

It never happened.

In fact, Ted Thompson’s position – which was held by Wolf’s father – was eliminated by Mark Murphy, the club’s financial guy. Murphy changed the organizations structure so that all football decisions would, ultimately, run through him. The job Wolf had always dreamt of having was taken away from him and Brian Gutekunst was promoted up the Packers personnel chain. Wolf wanted to pick the coach. Wolf wanted to pick the players. He didn’t want to share the GM role with the club’s salary cap manager.

Wolf was left in a limbo. He spent a season as Assistant General Manager for the Browns, barely even getting his feet wet before his boss – John Dorsey – was fired. Wolf then chose to leave Cleveland, first helping out in Seattle and then working as a consultant with the New England Patriots.

(As the Bears were picked apart by the likes of Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, it’s worth remembering that Wolf was the second-highest ranking executive when the team drafted them. As Ted Thompson’s health declined, Wolf began doing even more. He was training to be the team’s football czar without knowing that Murphy already planned that position for himself.)

There is no way that didn’t piss him off and the Bears have the opportunity to allow Wolf to show the Packers they screwed up.

Wolf is more than prepared to take over the organization, but what makes him especially interesting is the all-star front office he could bring with him. Dorsey could immediately step into a high-ranking front office position and few have drafted better than Dorsey in the last two decades. Alonzo Highsmith and Reggie McKenzie could also join the team.

What the hiring of Wolf would also accomplish is a complete shift in the organizational philosophy about the quarterback position. Suddenly, the Bears won’t just take one swing at the position. They’ll keep swinging until they know they have it right. Then they will swing some more. The philosophy of drafting a quarterback every year will become a reality.

And they’ll be able to build around the quarterback.

It isn’t just that the Packers have had Brett Favre and Aaron Rogers. They’ve made sure the quarterbacks got the right coaching when they were young, that they’d build an offensive line, find running backs and wide receivers. They made sure their quarterback would never lack support – something we haven’t seen with the Bears.

As for what happens with Matt Nagy, that would be Wolf’s decision. With Dorsey, he’d already have someone on staff who knows the coach and could help make the decision easier. Working with New England gives Wolf a front row seat to one of the top candidates, Josh McDaniels. He might prefer to wait a year to see what young up-and-comers might be on the horizon, especially Ken Dorsey, who Wolf went to The U with.

But the Bears have to move quickly. Wolf was the favorite for the Lions job last time around and you can bet they’ll come calling again. The Texans, Lions, Jaguars and Falcons all have openings and all will surely dial Wolf’s number.

They all might have better quarterbacks, more draft picks or more salary cap space but none of those teams are the Bears and when it comes to beating the Packers, it’s the Bears job that would be the most interesting.

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