The Bears have closed the interviewing process for their next general manager. And although two candidates are on Super Bowl-bound teams, their respective clubs can determine if they can accept the Bears offer, should one be extended.
Here's what the NFL rules say on the matter: "No contract shall be executed, and no agreement to execute a contract, or an announcement of a contract or of an agreement for employment, shall be permitted until after the conclusion of the employer club's playing season, unless the employer club has specifically granted written permission for its employee to accept a position with the new club prior to the conclusion of its participation in the postseason."
This month, the Green Bay Packers, for instance, allowed Reggie McKenzie to accept the general manager position from the Oakland Raiders before their season officially ended.
Once a club is eliminated, they have no say in the interview process, if an employee has a chance to become a high-level club employee.
Last offseason, Bears chairman George McCaskey visited with Giants co-owner John Mara in the New York area, to gain insights on his new position. Given the friendly relationship -- as well as the strong relationship between general manager Jerry Reese and Ross -- the Giants likely wouldn't block the hiring from happening this week.
The Bears would prefer, of course, to hire a candidate sooner than later and have him start immediately. But, per NFL rules, the Giants and Patriots could block that from happening until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
The Bears interviewed five candidates in five days last week. They were Jason Licht of the New England Patriots on Monday, Jimmy Raye of the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday, Marc Ross of the New York Giants on Wednesday, Tim Ruskell of the Bears on Thursday and Phil Emery of the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday.
Bears president Ted Phillips likely spent the weekend, mulling the interviews. The St. Louis Rams are also in the process of interviewing and hiring a general manager. Last week, they hired Jeff Fisher as head coach.
Three league sources told the Sun-Times last Friday that they believed that Emery was favorite to replace Jerry Angelo, citing his familiarity with the Bears (he was an area scout from 1998 to 2004) and his low-key approach. He also likely wouldn't overhaul the scouting department.