Chicago Bears

Bears GM Ryan Poles among bottom 10 general managers in 2023 ranking

Chicago Bears fans like the job General Manager Ryan Poles has done so far this offseason. He’s made aggressive decisions in free agency and the NFL Draft guided by a vision for long-term success.

But he’s still new to the job. This is only his second season as a general manager, and it’s really the first offseason that he’s been able to put his stamp on the roster. The 2022 offseason was spent cleaning the mess left behind by Ryan Pace. With the team torn down to its studs, we’re getting our first look at Poles’ plan for the Chicago Bears.

It’s too soon to say if Poles is good at this. I think he has a chance to be a really good GM; I like his decisions in free agency, and he used a great process when he traded the No. 1 pick. But moves that look good on paper in May will turn into criticism if the Bears don’t win games in the fall.

According to a recent ranking by NBC Sports of all 32 NFL general managers, Poles still has work to do to earn league-wide respect.

He ranked 25th.

“Ryan Poles had two first-year assignments: Tear it down and pray Justin Fields is good,” Patrick Daugherty wrote. “It was mission accomplished on both fronts, with Poles beginning his tenure by trading Khalil Mack for second- and sixth-round picks. While Mack continued his decline in Los Angeles, Fields began his ascent in Chicago. Of course, it was mostly as a runner. Lacking a strong offensive line or anything resembling a receiver corps, Fields tucked first and passed later. The man needed help.

“Enter Poles’ Year 2 assignment. Tasked with the fateful decision to either use the No. 1 pick on a quarterback or build around Fields, Poles wisely chose the latter. He overpaid for Chase Claypool, acquired D.J. Moore, used the No. 10 overall pick on potential franchise tackle Darnell Wright and splurged on free agent guard Nate Davis. Poles also went to work on the rest of the roster in free agency, signing EDGE DeMarcus Walker, LB Tremaine Edmunds and LB T.J. Edwards. Poles has decided his gut job can become a quick fix. For the sake of prime time football watchers — the Bears are once again there three times in 2023 — we hope he’s right.”

Chicago Bears

Ryan Poles is a GM Chicago Bears fans can believe in

Indeed, there are plenty of reasons for optimism surrounding Poles. He seems genuine. He values character and a positive culture in the locker room. That’s good news for Bears fans; It’s easier to cheer for a team with a bunch of good dudes on it, and while most teams will have a player or two who ruffle feathers, the Chicago Bears are doing their due diligence to avoid rostering anyone who will be an extreme distraction. That’s a good thing.

Poles is strong-minded. He follows a set of principles; he doesn’t cave under pressure. He didn’t overpay for Roquan Smith. He didn’t overspend on David Montgomery. He didn’t flinch at his conviction surrounding Darnell Wright. This Bears team is being built in his vision with his players.

So, naturally, if this plan fails? It’ll primarily be his fault.

For now, Chicago Bears fans must trust the process. Poles’ process certainly feels better than most of his recent predecessors inside Halas Hall. But until his team starts stacking wins, he’ll remain low in general manager rankings like this.

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