The most interesting name coming out of the Bears general manager search is Eric DeCosta of the Baltimore Ravens. DeCosta has shown little desire to leave his position with the Ravens and has turned down interview requests for GM jobs before. But I’m starting to think that the Bears might have a real shot at getting him to listen on their opening. Here’s why.
Most Bears fans remember the incident in 2011 draft when former Bears GM Jerry Angelo infamously botched a trade with the Ravens. Angelo promised the Ravens a fourth round pick if they would trade their 26th pick for the Bears 29th pick. But Angelo failed to properly inform the league. The Ravens actually missed the 26th pick and ended up picking 27th.
Baltimore and Chicago both got the guys they wanted in the end (Baltimore picked Jimmy Smith and the Bears took Gabe Carimi). But neither Baltimore GM Ozzie Smith nor owner Steve Bisciotti was amused. Angelo refused to give the Ravens the fourth round pick that the Bears owed them and Bisciotti called upon the McCaskey family to force him to do it. Via Biggs, writing for the National Football Post at the time:
“‘I’m disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskeys,’ Bisciotti told Jamison Hensley of the Baltimore Sun. ‘It is in my opinion a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree … probably end of story.'”
It was. But now it probably isn’t.
Baltimore had every right to be upset and the McCaskey’s couldn’t have seen that they deserved to get that pick any less clearly than I did. When Angelo was fired in 2012, this quote via Dan Pompei, then at the Chicago Tribune, stuck out:
“‘It can’t be that he was fired for the performance of the team,’ said one AFC front-office man, who is not a friend of Angelo’s. ‘It has to be something else.'”
Who wants to bet that the quote came from the Ravens? They would know very well that the “something else” might very well have been Angelo paying the ultimate price for the trade fiasco (amongst others). It didn’t get them their pick back. But there had to be some satisfaction with the McCaskey’s acting in response to the injustice all the same.
So what’s the point? Though they were justifiably upset with the handling of the problem at the time DeCosta has to be looking at it now from a much different point of view. Few people would understand better than the members of the Ravens organization that the McCaskeys are going to do the right thing by their hires. Few people would understand better how firm the commitment to step back and allow you to do your job is. And few people would understand that they aren’t going to interfere, even when they don’t agree with you, better than DeCosta. That might make the Bears job different from the other’s that DeCosta has failed to interview for in the past.