Nobody can say the Chicago Bears had a bad opening period of free agency. GM Ryan Poles did a solid job upgrading critical areas of the roster. Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards drastically improved the linebacking corps. Nate Davis provides athleticism and grit at guard. DeMarcus Walker and Andrew Billings give them power along the defensive line. Robert Tonyan also provides underrated depth at tight end. It’s been a productive run thus far. However, some Bears fans remain dissatisfied.
That stems from Poles’ inability to reel in some of the bigger free agent names on the market, particularly along the offensive and defensive lines. Mike McGlinchey, whom the Bears were connected to by several insiders, signed with the Denver Broncos. Interior pass rusher Dre’Mont Jones went to Seattle. Kaleb McGary took considerably less money to stay put in Atlanta. Considering the money he had and the pressing need for those positions, it was hard to understand why Poles wasn’t more aggressive. He explained on Bears Weekly with Jeff Joniak that it wasn’t just about the money with those decisions.
“Money does talk. It’s a huge driver, but what you can sense about guys… are the ones that want to be there. Sometimes they take less, sometimes they don’t want to hear from anyone else; they want to be a Chicago Bear.”
Ryan Poles doesn’t just want mercenaries.
He doesn’t want players on his roster only there for the money. He wants guys that buy into the vision of what the Bears are trying to build. That is a big reason he was comfortable spending on Edmunds. Not only did the linebacker have a unique skill set, but he also brought the type of character and buy-in mentality Poles was looking for. Edwards, as a lifelong Bears fan, was an easy sell. Talk to every free agent signing they’ve made, and the statements remain consistent.
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They wanted to be here.
Yes, the price tag is a central focus for Ryan Poles in free agency. He, like any other GM, doesn’t want to overspend. That said, part of his approach was also driven by reading the players involved. It’s clear he got a sense from guys like McGlinchey, Jones, and McGary that while they were open to playing in Chicago, they weren’t fully committed to the idea. Once that became clear, and the money reached the red line, the Bears were content to move on.