Sunday, April 21, 2024

Ryan Poles Needs To Start Making Impactful And Positive Moves


With the Chicago Bears’ first preseason game of the 2022 coming up on Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs, there has been more attention paid to what is going on with the team off the field rather than on it. On Tuesday, linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade via social media due to issue with contract negotiations with Chicago. The Bears’ first-year general manager Ryan Poles, has had a poor offseason, with the Smith contract dilemma being the most recent issue, an issue that needs to be resolved in a positve manner.

Poles Hasn’t Had A Massive Transaction as Chicago’s General Manager

When the Bears hired Poles in January of this year, many NFL analysts believed Chicago was getting one of the most promising executives in the league. The former Chiefs’ Director of Pro Personnel is viewed as a terrific scouting and talent evaluator due to his 12 years with Kansas City. When the Bears hired Poles, the team tasked the new general manager with having to rebuild a team around second-year quarterback Justin Fields.

Poles started Chicago’s rebuild on a positive note by hiring Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as the Bears’ new head coach and by creating draft capital along with salary cap space by trading All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. Outside of those two moves, the Bears’ general manager hasn’t had one impactful move that has made his team better from a talent standpoint. Poles has had several embarrassing moments from the start of free agency through to training camp.

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At the start of this year’s free agency period, many fans and journalists believed that the Bears would make several significant signings to improve their offensive line to protect Fields and add defensive players equipped to play the Cover-2 defensive scheme implemented by Eberflus. Poles failed to sign any top free agent offensive linemen, with Chicago losing restrictive free agent Ryan Bates to the Buffalo Bills after the Bills matched the Bears’ contract offer. Poles has been criticized for not adding a talented veteran receiver via trade or free agency to help give Fields weapons on offense.

The biggest negative of Poles’ first offseason was the avoiding of free agent defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi’s contract. Chicago signed Ogunjobi to an impressive contract to have the defensive tackle be a vital starter in the team’s new defense but later had to void the agreement due to a failed physical. The ongoing contract extension issues with Smith only amplifies Poles’ errors this offseason as there have been more and more recurring negative issues for the new general manager.

Although it appears that Poles has turned in a potentially successful draft class with rookie talents such as Kyler Gordon, Jaquon Brisker, Velus Jones Jr, Dominique Robinson, and Braxton Jones, fans and the media won’t know whether or not the players are talented until the regular season. Along with Smith’s situation, Chicago’s general manager must also address growth depth issues at the wide receiver position, with more injuries starting to pile up.

Poles Needs To Resolve Both Issues Before The Start Of The Season

The injury issues at the wide receiver position for the Bears has grown over the past week as Jones, Byron Pringle, and N’Keal Harry have all missed practice time since Saturday with moderate to severe ailments. Jones is day-to-day, but Pringle and Harry’s injuries will likely keep them out of Chicago’s three preseason games and potentially lead to the veteran receivers missing games in the regular season. Even one of the receivers missing time at the start of the season is a massive issue for Chicago as they have little depth and talent at the position outside of Darnell Mooney.

If Chicago lacks depth and talent at the receiver position to begin the season, it will reflect poorly on Poles’ part. In an offseason when many of the league’s best wide receivers were traded or potentially traded due to contract negotiation issues, Chicago’s general manager failed to pounce on a potential opportunity to improve his team immediately.

In addition to either trading for or signing a talented wide receiver cut by a team after training camp, Poles has to either re-sign Smith or trade the linebacker for the highest value. If a contract extension can’t be reached and the Bears’ best linebacker decides to sit out, the team’s general manager can’t get anything less than a first-round draft selection in return if a trade takes place. Poles has to bring a positive end to both situations to avoid negativity hanging over the Bears heading into their season-opening game against the 49ers.

Although Poles has had a difficult start to his regime as Chicago’s general manager, he can find a way to bring balance with a few positive moves. Signing Smith to a long-term deal helps the Bears rebuild immensely in the long-term while finding proven pass-catching talent will make Fields a better quarterback in 2022. Poles needs to find a way to make a positive move that demonstrates that he was the right hire as general manager for Chicago.


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Ghost Tomahawk
Ghost Tomahawk
Aug 12, 2022 3:21 pm

This season is about setting the Bears up for the future. Ryan Pace did something similar when he took over. Cleared cap space and signed short term cost effective players until the team was ready to spend.

Roquan Smith isn’t a generational talent. Whining about him not signing is pointless. He wants big money for a position he has never played. Top money…. nope. Top 10 sure. Top 5 maybe.

tommy griffin
tommy griffin
Aug 11, 2022 3:55 pm

Poles is doing a masterful job with what he was given. Pace squandered draft picks , dished out bad contract and did not draft well. We have to give Poles a fair shake here. As far as Roquon, he should not have went publicly like the way he did but that is what this generation of players do, they hopefully will get a deal done because he is a baller, do he deserve to be paid the highest amount for a LB? I don’t count players pockets but if Leonard gets 19.7 then that’s around the ball park Roq probably… Read more »

Aug 11, 2022 3:47 pm

Totally disagree with this article. Face it, Bears were an old, mediocre team. This is a rebuild. Poles said he was going to do it via draft. You add a big ticket free agent or 2 when you are ready to contend for Super Bowls. Bears are not at present. Continue to build via draft and cheap free agents on 1 year prove it deals.

Bill K
Bill K
Aug 11, 2022 2:29 pm

Poles has had a poor off season? Pusch you’re either bipolar or you’re smoking crack. There are too many pundits like you who either never played football at a high level who don’t know dick, who get paid to say and write provocative things that are totally whack. Poles hired the right guy to be the HC who is instilling standards and creating a culture that will return the Bears to prominence by being a tough, hard-nosed team that runs the football and plays tenacious Defense. Poles has done a great job by not overreaching and overpaying FAs’ and it… Read more »

Aug 11, 2022 12:09 pm

This year was always going to be about finding a solid group of guys to establish a floor with, and swinging for the fences in 2023 where they have a full complement of draft picks and significant money to spend.

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