Saturday, June 15, 2024

Ryan Poles Was Surprisingly Honest On Why He Traded For Montez Sweat


In his three years as GM, Ryan Poles has engineered some blockbuster trades. It started with sending Khalil Mack to the Chargers and Roquan Smith to the Ravens. He acquired Chase Claypool from the Steelers and, of course, sent the #1 pick to Carolina for D.J. Moore and several draft picks. Yet the one move that may have surprised people the most was when the Chicago Bears sent a 2nd round pick to the Washington Commanders for defensive end Montez Sweat. It went against all conventional wisdom.

Rebuilding teams don’t make aggressive moves for veteran players, especially when they haven’t shown any signs of being competitive yet. Poles bucked the trend, believing Sweat was the sort of rare talent worth being aggressive for. It worked out well almost immediately. The defensive end collected 6.5 sacks over the second half of the season, helping to transform the defense into one of the NFL’s best. While that was the primary goal for Poles, he admitted to Dan Graziano of ESPN that there was another motivation.

He knew he needed to give the team a jolt in the win column to keep everybody from panicking.

At the 2023 trade deadline, Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles shipped a second-round pick to the Washington Commanders for edge rusher Montez Sweat, who was in the final year of his contract. A few days later, the Bears signed him to a four-year, $98 million extension.

They paid a premium for the 27-year-old, but Poles believes it’s important to recognize when it’s worth stretching for a player.

Kind of knowing when to hit the gas and when to hit the brake,” Poles said. “You look at age, production. We saw the talent on tape and then looked at the age and knew that provided a runway for the player to come up in our organization. You want to do everything in a very disciplined way, but you also know you don’t have forever. These contracts start running out, and organizationally you have to show improvement if you want to convince everyone to stick with the plan.”

Ryan Poles took a gamble in hopes of settling the team down.

Chicago had gone 2-6 through the months of September and October. The offense remained inconsistent and the defense couldn’t stop anybody. People were starting to wonder if the culture could withstand further setbacks. Rather than sit back and hope things turned around, Poles was proactive. He knew the defense was the team’s best chance to get things going, so he took a swing for what they needed most: a proven pass rusher. It was a gamble, to be sure. If it flopped, he was out another high draft choice just like the misguided Claypool trade.

Thankfully, the move proved brilliant.

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Sweat’s arrival galvanized the defense. The unit allowed more than 20 points in only two of the remaining nine games, and Chicago went 5-4 during that stretch. All you hear about now is the swagger and confidence the defense brings to every practice. It bleeds into the rest of the building. The offense is starting to show some bite of its own, driven by their new quarterback, Caleb Williams, and a suddenly stacked array of wide receivers. If all of this culminates in a playoff run, that trade for Sweat may go down as one of the great turning points in Bears history. Ryan Poles deserves tons of credit for it.


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Jun 15, 2024 1:49 pm

All people make mistakes (except TFG). The question is whether or not you LEARN from your mistakes. Refusing to accept that a mistake has been made, or that something couldn’t be done better, or improvements are possible, is the mark of a Loser, and Class A Idiot. In my life, I’ve recognized when people refuse to admit mistakes – but they make changes which indicates that they knew. And then there are people who refuse to make mistakes and either make them again, and again, and again, or compound them by doubling down. Those people are toxic to relationships, organizations,… Read more »

Jun 15, 2024 1:22 pm

It is just a guess, but I suspect Poles didn’t research Claypool’s mental and maturity background (going back to ND) as much as looked at his “measurables.” No player should every have DECREASING numbers, and those are really great red flags. I also suspect, Poles looked at Montez Sweat’s mental and maturity background a LOT more carefully, than simply his measurables. In the NFL, it is actually easier to assess the hidden qualities of college players than pro players on other teams (unless they allow you to talk to them). In the pros, asking to talk to a player, increases… Read more »

Jun 14, 2024 12:02 pm

Takes 4-5 years to build a new Winning roster from the ground up. There’s also that little glitch that Ryan Poles didn’t choose his Ideal head coach, he got to “pick 1” from a group of 3. I like that Eberflus seems to be more confident lately (probably the haircut) but I still fear that “play not to lose” mentality is going to rear it’s ugly head at crunch time. Please prove me wrong, Eberflus, it won’t hurt my pride at all.

Jun 14, 2024 10:39 am

The only way we will know if Poles has made good or bad moves is by whether or not we start winning. This is year three. He has had time to remake this entire roster to reflect what he feels should win.

Now we need to see if in fact this team does win. If it does, he’s a good GM. If not, he’s another guy. Only winning can prove this one way or the other.

Jun 14, 2024 9:18 am

The “future is exciting” if QB, Caleb Williams is more like CJ Stroud than he is like: Justin Fields, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Kenny Pickett, Mitch Trubisky, Deshaun Watson. .

If not, all we’ve accomplished is the identification of another “bonehead” — this one with a 10-24 won-loss record, to date.

In the words of Larry David: “Curb your enthusiasm.”

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