Why did Bears fire Matt Nagy? Chicago starts search for new coach after disappointing 2021 season

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Matt-Nagy-Getty-112321-FTR.jpg (Getty Images)

Matt Nagy was unsurprisingly part of the first round of cuts on the NFL's Black Monday.

The Bears announced Monday morning that they had fired Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace less than 24 hours removed from Chicago's loss to Minnesota. That defeat in the regular-season finale dropped the team to 6-11 overall.

Here's why the Bears decided it was time to make a change at head coach.

MORE: Ranking Bears' 11 best replacements for Matt Nagy

Why did the Bears fire Matt Nagy?

Nagy got off to a hot start in Chicago, leading the Bears to a 12-4 record and the NFC North title in his first year as their head coach. He became the first Bears rookie head coach to win at least 10 games since George Halas hit that total in 1920 and won the NFL's Coach of the Year award. Philadelphia defeated Chicago in the wild-card round that season, but the Bears had reason for optimism.

Unfortunately for Nagy and the Bears, the good times didn't last. Chicago finished 8-8 in both 2019 and 2020, then dropped to 6-11 in 2021. As Bears.com writer Larry Mayer noted, since the team started 5-1 in 2020, Chicago has lost 19 of its last 28 games. After jumping out to a 3-2 start in 2021, the Bears fell in eight of their next nine games, and they were eliminated from playoff contention by the end of Week 15.

One specific area in which Nagy struggled was developing his quarterbacks. Mitchell Trubisky flamed out after being selected with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and Justin Fields went 2-8 as a starter during his rookie season, finishing last in the league among qualified players in ESPN's QBR metric (26.0).

In Nagy's last three seasons, the Bears landed 29th, 22nd and 27th in the NFL in points scored.

MORE: Meet NFL's top 10 rising coaching candidates for 2022

Who will replace Matt Nagy in Chicago?

The Sporting News' Vinnie Iyer has offered a list of potential candidates who could replace Nagy and get the Bears back on track in 2022:

  • Eric Bieniemy, Chiefs offensive coordinator
  • Joe Brady, former Panthers offensive coordinator
  • Ryan Day, Ohio State head coach
  • Matt Eberflus, Colts defensive coordinator
  • Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern head coach
  • Leslie Frazier, Bills defensive coordinator
  • Jim Harbaugh, Michigan head coach
  • Mike Kafka, Chiefs quarterbacks coach
  • Byron Leftwich, Buccaneers offensive coordinator
  • Kellen Moore, Cowboys offensive coordinator
  • Demeco Ryans, 49ers defensive coordinator

MORE: Which NFL coaches have been fired on Black Monday?

Matt Nagy's contract with Bears

Nagy reportedly signed a five-year deal with the Bears in 2018, meaning that he was under contract through 2022. Pace was reportedly under contract through 2021.

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