Ryan Pace, New Bears GM: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

The Chicago Bears hired former Saints executive Ryan Pace as their new general manager. (Getty)

The Chicago Bears hired former Saints executive Ryan Pace as their new general manager. (Getty)

The Chicago Bears hired their new general manager Thursday, tapping longtime Saints executive Ryan Pace for the job.

Pace, 37, was highly respected within the Saints organization, getting rave reviews from head coach Sean Payton and Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.

Per Payton:

“He’s really good at what he does. He’s a big part of what we do. He’s very talented, and I know he’s been promoted here, deservedly so, a few times.”

He’s been with the Saints since 2001 and was named director of player personnel in 2013.

Details of the contract with the Bears are unknown at this time.

Here’s all you need to know about Pace:

1. Pace Was the Director of Player Personnel for the Saints

(New Orleans Saints)

(New Orleans Saints)

Pace was promoted to New Orleans’ director of player personnel prior to the 2013 season. He worked closely with Loomis and was heavily involved in the team’s college and pro scouting department.

He has extensive experience in talent evaluation at the both the pro and college level.

Pace began with the Saints in 2001 helping with game day operations. Prior to become player personnel director, he served as the team’s Director of Pro Scouting.

Pace was with the team when Hurricane Katrina hit the area in 2005.

2. Pace Replaces Phil Emery

Former Bears GM Phil Emery. (Getty)

Former Bears GM Phil Emery. (Getty)

The Bears fired Phil Emery after just 3 seasons on Dec. 29.

Under Emery’s watch, the Bears drafted wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (April 2012), fired head coach Lovie Smith (December 2012), hired head coach Marc Trestman (January 2013), signed free agent tight end Martellus Bennett (March 2013) and drafted cornerback Kyle Fuller (April 2014).

Chicago failed to reach the playoffs in any of Emery’s seasons.

3. Pace Needs to Hire a Head Coach

Ex-Bears coach Marc Trestman. (Getty)

Ex-Bears coach Marc Trestman. (Getty)

Trestman was also fired at season’s end after just 2 years on the Chicago sideline. He was 13-19 overall, including 5-11 in 2014.

The Bears have already interviewed Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase and, according to the NFL Network, met with Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. An interview with Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was scheduled for Thursday and Chicago is expected to talk with Mike Shanahan.

The Bears have hired former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi as a consultant to help with the process.

4. Pace Has Roster Decisions to Make

Bears quaterback Jay Cutler is sacked vs. Minnesota. (Getty)

Bears quaterback Jay Cutler is sacked vs. Minnesota. (Getty)

Pace will have some decisions to make for next season’s roster. Quarterback Jay Cutler has a 2015 cap number of $16.5 million and defensive end Jared Allen’s is $12.5 million.

The 2014 salary cap was $133 million and teams were notified that number will jump between $138.6 and $141.8 million next season.

The Bears have about $110 million committed to 2015 contracts.

5. Pace Played Football at Tony Romo’s Alma Mater

Tony Romo and Pace both played football at Eastern Illinois. (Getty)

Tony Romo and Pace both played football at Eastern Illinois. (Getty)

The Flower Mound, Texas, native lettered 4 years as a defensive end at Eastern Illinois (1995-99), the school where Payton and the Cowboys’ Tony Romo both played quarterback.

A captain his senior year, Pace finished with 5 career sacks and 3 forced fumbles. He had 46 tackles his final season.

Pace is married to Stephanie and they have a daughter, Cardyn.

The family had a blog when in New Orleans, but it hasn’t been updated since 2010.