With three other vacancies, the Bears will have plenty of competition to replace general manager Jerry Angelo.
It's important to establish the protocol on interviewing and hiring a general manager. Here are some pertinent points from the NFL's policy.
First, "high-level club employees" are defined as "club president, general manager, and persons with equivalent responsibilities and authority."
"A club president is defined as an individual who shall have authority and responsibility for the organization, direction, and management of day-to-day operations of the club and who reports directly to the controlling owner. A general manager is defined as an individual who has (1) the authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, terminations, and related decisions, and (2) the responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach."
Second, because the regular season is over and the postseason has begun, a club that wishes to discuss a high-level vacancy with an individual who is not a high-level employee and whose employer club is not in the playoffs must seek written permission from the owner.
If the owner grants permission, then the interview can be conducted at a time that's convenient for all parties.
If an individual's team is in the playoffs, then no contract can be executed until after the conclusion of the employer club's playing season, unless that specific club has granted written permission.
Third, it's important to note that if an organization allows an employee to interview for one high-ranking position, then they must grant permission to all that are interested. "Permission cannot be granted selectively," the policy states.
Fourth, a club is not obligated to "grant another club permission to discuss employment with a high-level employee if he or she is under contract, even if the second club is prepared to offer him or her a position of greater responsibility within the category of high-level club employees."
Clubs may negotiate a right of first refusal.
There is a caveat.
"If, however, the inquiring club is prepared to offer a position as a high-level employee, as defined above, the employer club may not deny the employee the opportunity to discuss and accept such employment."
Fifth, a club can deny permission to a second employee, to apparently ensure a staff is not pillaged.