Bears reportedly hire Shane Waldron as next OC

Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Former Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Shane Waldron has reportedly signed with the Chicago Bears. (AP Photo/John Amis)

The Chicago Bears have reportedly locked in on its next offensive coordinator. Shane Waldron and the Bears are reportedly in the final stages of agreeing to a deal to bring Waldron to the Windy City.

According to ESPN's Courtney Cronin, Waldron was the first person Chicago interviewed for its vacancy after firing former offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, after two seasons, on Jan. 10. The Bears interviewed nine candidates in total after cleaning out their offensive coaching staff.

When asked what head coach Matt Eberflus was looking for in his top offensive coach ahead of a pivotal draft in which Chicago owns the No. 1 overall pick, Eberflus identified being a strong teacher as the top trait.

"You want to have somebody that's a great teacher," Eberflus said. "I think 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.

"You have to be able to have the innovation to really look at the players that you have and be able to help enhance and put those guys in position to succeed and to get explosives and to move the ball down the field. So that right there, I think, is the most important thing, the teacher part of it and then the innovation part of it, and the creativity I think is going to be the biggest part."

Waldron has spent the last three seasons as the Seattle Seahawks' offensive coordinator. He coached quarterback Russell Wilson in his final season with the team in 2021, and Geno Smith the last two years.

In his first season as the starter, Waldron helped Smith experience a career renaissance. The journeyman quarterback enjoyed a career-best season, finishing first in completion percentage (69.8), fourth in touchdowns (30), fifth in passer rating (100.9) and eighth in passing yards (4,282).

The Seahawks also reached the playoffs in 2022 as a result of Smith's exceptional year. But Smith went through a sophomore slump in 2023, and the Seattle offense took a step back.

In fact, it resembled some of the numbers for Chicago's offense. The Seahawks finished 17th in points per game (21.4), while the Bears were one spot behind them at 18th (21.2). Seattle was 21st in yards per game (322.9) and Chicago came in one place better at 20th (332.2).