Chicago Bears president Kevin Warren compared Matt Eberflus to a legendary head coach over the weekend. Warren’s comments came before the Green Bay Packers embarrassed the Bears for a fourth time in the Eberflus era.
The Bears have not announced their decision to fire or retain Eberflus for the 2024 season. Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles are spending Black Monday holding exit interviews with players.
The Chicago Bears have a contract with Matt Eberflus
It would be somewhat unprecedented (Marc Trestman excluded) for the Bears to fire Eberflus after two seasons. Eberflus inherited a team that needed to be torn down and rebuilt. According to Bears insider Bradd Biggs with the Chicago Tribune, Eberflus likely has a four-year contract with Chicago:
I believe Eberflus has a four-year contract. I don’t know that for a fact, but I’m confident that is the case. I asked him at his introductory news conference what the length of his contract was, and he declined to say.
Some on social media were critical of the question at the time. I’ve poked around on this lately and have been led to believe it’s four years. It’s relevant when you look to the future. That means he likely has two years remaining on his contract. Since the mid-1950s, the only Bears coach not to get a third year was Marc Trestman, who was fired after the 2014 season.
The Bears quarterback situation is the problem with the timing of Eberflus’ hot seat. It would be a bold decision for the Bears to pass up a quarterback, with the team owning the number one pick in the draft two years in a row. Giving a rookie quarterback to a lame-duck coach has been franchise suicide in the last decade.
And if the Bears aren’t sold on Fields heading into year four, passing on a rookie quarterback could hurt the Bears for the next decade.
Is Eberflus the next Dick Vermeil?
Warren is looking to history as the Bears make their decision on Eberflus and Fields. Courtney Cronin with ESPN provided a transcript of CBS Tracy Wolfson’s interview with Warren on the state of the Bears. Warren compared Eberflus to Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil:
Wolfson: “One thing [Warren] stressed to me was the importance of stability. They have a stadium plan, a team plan and they have a culture plan and he’s been very pleased with what he’s seen in terms of the improvement of Justin Fields and this team this year. Kevin Warren mentioned to me his time with Dick Vermeil with the [St. Louis] Rams and how it took until Year 3 to put it all together. He sees this as a similar situation.”
Vermeil was the architect of a three-year turnaround with every team he was the head coach of. Vermeil had losing or .500 seasons in the first two years of his stints with the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, and Kansas City Chiefs. He made the playoffs in three with all three teams and won Super Bowl XXXIV with the Rams.
Can Eberflus be the next Vermeil? Possibly, if the Bears run it back next season with Fields, they should be a playoff team next season. However, like Vermeil’s first head coaching stint with the Eagles, Flus probably won’t win a Super Bowl in Chicago if they keep Fields as their quarterback.
And would the Bears let Eberflus coach through the end of a four-year contract if they struggle in 2024 as they rebuild the team around Caleb Williams next year?
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