The Chicago Bears are working on a deal to hire Shane Waldron as their new offensive coordinator, multiple league sources confirmed Monday morning.
Waldron has been the Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator for the last three seasons and helped quarterback Geno Smith to a comeback season in 2022. Before that, Waldron spent four seasons with the Los Angeles Rams as the passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and tight ends coach.
He is well-respected inside league circles as a young, energetic coach on the rise and a strong teacher with a creative mind and — especially important to the Bears — three seasons of play-calling experience.
NFL Network first reported the Bears are planning to hire Waldron.
The Bears reportedly interviewed at least nine candidates for the opening, including San Francisco 49ers passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak, former Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, former Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown and former Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury.
Waldron would replace Luke Getsy, whom coach Matt Eberflus fired earlier this month after two seasons at the helm of the Bears offense. In the search for Getsy’s replacement, Eberflus emphasized his desire to find a new offensive coordinator who is a “great teacher.”
“That’s important because you know he has to coach the coaches to coach the position, and I think that’s the No. 1 trait of any great coach,” Eberflus said. “You have to be able to have the innovation to really look at the players you have and be able to help enhance and put those guys in position to succeed and to get explosive (plays) and to move the ball down the field.”
Waldron would take over a Bears offense that has major decisions ahead this offseason at quarterback. General manager Ryan Poles must decide whether to use the No. 1 draft pick to select a quarterback — potentially USC’s Caleb Williams — or to stick with Justin Fields, the Bears starter for the last three seasons.
Poles said he expected to ask candidates for their plans to coach different kinds of quarterbacks.
“I love it because what are you going to do for these four different types of quarterbacks,” Poles said. “I want to hear that, and I think it’s really important to hear the versatility and adaptability in their teaching, in the way they implement a plan, scheme, adjust. It actually makes it pretty dynamic in terms of the interview process.”
Waldron called plays in 2021 for a Seahawks offense piloted by Russell Wilson. In 2022, after Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos, the Seahawks pivoted to Smith and won nine games while earning a wild-card berth.
Smith, in his 10th NFL season, was honored as the league’s Comeback Player of the Year after throwing for 4,282 yards and 30 touchdowns. Both marks would be single-season franchise records for the Bears.
This season the Seahawks ranked 21st in total offense (322.9 yards per game) and 14th in passing (230 ypg). They averaged 21.4 points, ranked 17th. That was down from 2022, when they averaged 351.5 yards (13th) and 23.9 points (ninth).
The Seahawks staff is looking for new jobs after the organization and coach Pete Carroll parted ways after a 14-year union.
In addition to working closely with Wilson and Smith, Waldron worked with quarterback Jared Goff for three seasons with the Rams.
Waldron served as an offensive assistant with the New England Patriots (2008-09) and Washington (2016) and worked in operations with the Patriots early in his career. He also has coached in college, high school and the UFL.
Waldron and the Bears must hire assistants to coach the quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs after the team dismissed Andrew Janocko, Tyke Tolbert and Omar Young earlier this month. Offensive line coach Chris Morgan and tight ends coach Jim Dray remain on the staff.
The Bears also are seeking a defensive coordinator, and NFL Network reported Monday they will interview Tennessee Titans defensive pass game coordinator Chris Harris. Harris played safety in the NFL for eight seasons, including two stints with the Bears, and started for the 2006 Bears team that went to the Super Bowl.
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