First Week of Free Agency Reveals Continued Prudence, Patience of Poles

| March 16th, 2024

He doesn’t really care about you, Mr. Meatball.

He doesn’t care about your voracious desire for big-ticket free agent acquisitions.

He doesn’t care about your “we want Fields” chants on a blustery Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field.

You wouldn’t pay a running back? He will.

You wouldn’t pay an off-ball linebacker? He’ll pay two.

You’re obsessed with the nonsense that has come to be called “good process.” He’s concerned with only one process: his.

Ryan Poles has a stubborn vision for how he intends to build the Chicago Bears into a contender and that stubbornness is why it feels like the Bears are finally in the right hands. It is a stubbornness that requires an ability sorely lacking since Jerry Angelo was unfairly chased out of town: self-awareness. When Poles interviewed for this job, he spent most his time with George McCaskey and Ted Phillips explaining all the deficiencies in the roster. He was not kind about his predecessor, and he did not sugarcoat what he believed was required to clean up the mess. In year one, he tore it all down. In year two, he began to reassemble. Many would argue that a general manager’s third year is when pressure to contend surfaces, but Poles knows that is not where the Chicago Bears currently sit in the NFL landscape, especially because they are about to take a quarterback with the first pick in the draft.

Would Christian Wilkins and Danielle Hunter have made the Bears better in 2024? Sure. But neither would make the Bears title contenders, and both would eat up sizable cap space in the future. Poles values flexibility. It’s a word he must have used 300 times in his post-season presser when discussing potential offensive coordinator hires. He’ll use this off-season to improve the roster and expect that improved roster to be playing January football this season. Then he’ll put the finishing touches on his rebuild next off-season, and expectations will rise.

In the meantime, the Bears will continue filling holes with cheaper veterans (Coleman Shelton at center) and hope those cheaper veterans become indispensable, requiring extensions (Andrew Billings). And they’ll wait and see if they can finally get correct the most important position in team sports: quarterback.

UPDATE: On Thursday evening, Ryan Poles executed the trade for Keenan Allen. 

Once again, prudence and patience won the day for Ryan Poles.

Having to part with only a mid-round pick, the Bears will now roster their best receiving duo since Marshall and Jeffery. DJ Moore and Keenan Allen will provide the incoming quarterback two of the most reliable outside targets in the sport, and arguably change the expectations level for the coming campaign.

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