The Chicago Bears haven’t moved at a pace anybody would call rapid in their search for a new GM. Still, the natural flow of things suggests a decision is coming this week. Perhaps the most important name to circle at the moment is Ryan Poles. The Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel is the only candidate to receive a second interview request. Thanks in large part to the great impression he made in their first meeting.
However, there may be added incentive behind his move by Chicago. There is an old saying in the world of business. It isn’t what you know, it’s who you know. Relationships matter in football. Especially at the top of an organization. This is why GMs often seek to hire head coaches they have worked with in the past. Think Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith. When it comes to Poles, MMQB insider Albert Breer dropped a significant bit of information that changes everything.
“Hiring Poles could mean changing course a bit. Poles is close with fellow former Boston College football letterman Brian Flores, and Flores has already interviewed with the Bears, and Poles has been in touch with a number of other candidates for the Vikings and Bears jobs (Caldwell is one, Quinn, Todd Bowles and Kevin O’Connell are others). So just like Quinn is the big domino on the coaching side, Poles could be the next domino on the general manager side.”
That is something that can’t be ignored.
Keep in mind what was reported last week. Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports indicated that the Bears were “very, very smitten” with Brian Flores after his first interview. There was one challenge. Finding a general manager he’d be comfortable with and he wants to be connected with. Somebody that doesn’t mind letting the head coach be at the forefront of the organization. He was quite specific.
Poles fits into that picture to near-perfection. He has a friendship with Flores thanks to their Boston College roots. The coach played there from 2000 to 2002. Poles did the same from 2005 to 2007. The fact Flores worked for the Patriots over the next decade, whose stadium is just a 34-minute drive from the BC campus makes it easy to believe he became acquainted with Poles. A relationship that likely grew as both began ascending in the NFL.
Then there is the structure the young executive works in. One where the head coach, Andy Reid, is at the forefront of the Chiefs organization. It isn’t hard to imagine Poles would have no problem letting Flores take the lead.
Ryan Poles will have a chance to close the deal Tuesday
The next 48 hours figure to be important for the Bears. Two more GM candidates are slated to interview on Monday in Steelers VP Omar Khan and Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown. Both are considered prime contenders thanks to their strong track records and also connections to Halas Hall. Khan is friends with Bears scouting director Mark Sadowski. Brown worked in Chicago from 2001 to 2007.
Yet the signs are starting to point towards Ryan Poles controlling the narrative. His interview comes the next day. If he can nail that meeting, he may not leave the building. Especially since the Minnesota Vikings reportedly wish to offer their GM job to him. There were already enough signs that the young executive had a good chance. Adding the Flores connection might make him the new favorite.
The combination would be a strong one on paper.
Flores did really good work with the Miami Dolphins, collecting back-to-back winning seasons despite a questionable roster. Poles was a key player in helping Kansas City construct the dominant roster that now has them in their fourth straight AFC championship. They have both been part of Super Bowl-winning organizations. If this ends up being the pairing, the Bears could do worse.