The Mess Ryan Pace left Ryan Poles is being completely understated by some fans and a majority of the mainstream media. The roster that Ryan Poles inherited was old, injured, and expensive. On top of that, they weren’t very good. The Chicago Bears only had five draft picks in the 2022 Draft. The Bears had approximately $29,000,000 in cap space but had a total of 35 pending free agents. Let’s break this down as simply as possible. Even if the Bears signed those 35 free agents to minimum deals it would exceed their cap space. Somehow Ryan Poles were able to clear up enough cap space to fill out a 90-man roster and flipped 5 draft picks into 11 during the draft.
It’s frustrating to see people lambast Ryan Poles for not signing in marque free agents when he was hamstrung by the salary cap. Ryan Pace failed to extend Allen Robinson, not Ryan Poles. Ryan Pace kept pushing Khalil Mack’s salary into the future (like he did with Fuller), which further buried the Chicago Bears into salary cap hell. The saving grace for Ryan Pace was that he had the intestinal fortitude to move up and draft Justin Fields. Going into the 2023 offseason, the Chicago Bears are projected to have approximately $96,000,000 in salary cap space. They also have their 1st round pick (a rarity in the Pace regime).
If the Bears can establish themselves as a respectable team, with an ascending QB. This team can become a destination for free agents. Right now, the OBJ and Jarvis Landry’s of the world don’t want to come here, and I don’t blame them. If Justin can make it happen with castoffs and the emerging Mooney, skill players will be salivating to play with a superstar signal caller. The Bears have not arrived at their destination, but I like the direction they’re heading. Ryan Pace handed Ryan Poles a bag of rotten lemons. Ryans Poles is making Mike’s Hard Lemonade.