The Atlanta Falcons have made their first big named addition of the 2022 NFL offseason, and it’s at an executive level. Former Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace will join Terry Fontenot’s staff as a senior personnel executive.
Before spending the past seven seasons as the general manager of the Bears, Pace worked with Fontenot in the New Orleans front office for 12 years and has now opted to reunite with the current Falcons general manager in Atlanta.
Pace carved out an impressive career with the Saints, starting as an operations assistant in 2001 and climbing up the ladder in the front office, all the way to the director of player personnel role in 2013. He made his money on the scouting side of the front office, and his eye for talent saw him earn promotion after promotion with the Saints.
In 2015, Pace became the youngest general manager in the NFL at the age of 37. His magnum opus came in the 2018 season when he put together a roster which went 12-4 and helped the Bears win the NFC North for the first time since 2010. Pace was named Sporting News’ 2018 Executive of the Year for his efforts, becoming just the third Bears GM ever to earn that honor.
In the end, Pace wasn’t able to overcome some critical draft mistakes — most notably selecting Mitchell Trubisky as the first quarterback off the board in 2017, over Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson — and was fired following the completion of the 2021 season.
The Falcons hope that Pace can now become a major asset to their front office, stepping into a scouting role, which is where he thrived with the Saints.