3 early issues in Ryan Poles era as Chicago Bears GM
Nobody is saying that the Chicago Bears hire of Ryan Poles will not work out, and this far into his tenure, it is far too early to tell. However, we can evaluate his decisions based on the processes in which he is making them.
While we have written things that he has done well, such as stay patient, trading back and adding assets, not trading up and spending them, and taking shots on young players with upside rather than aging names.
Still, the flip side has been some questionable moves as well. These are three things to keep an eye on moving forward.
3. Chicago Bears had botched signings
Ryan Poles wanted Larry Ogunjobi to be his first big signing. They gave him a three-year deal, they gave him a strong value compared to his peers, and it was one of the first signings of free agency. It was supposed to start off the Poles era, and give Matt Eberflus the center of his defense that he was craving.
Of course, we know how that went. To be fair to Poles, he was hurt by the NFL rules, and he could verbally agree to the deal, but not bring Ogunjobi in for a physical until 48 hours later. When Ogunjobi failed his physical, the Bears were now two days behind other teams when it came to signings of three-technique defensive tackles. The market dried up quickly.
Poles did know that Ogunjobi missed the Super Bowl because of his foot injury, and while we do not know what his market was outside of Chicago, it obviously would have been smart to be a bit more patient, and see if you could sign Oginjobi after you ensure he is healthy.
Losing that time caused them to pay Justin Jones more than most thought he was worth. It was only a million or two more than his market, but it started the Poles era off on the wrong foot.
Olin Kreutz reported that Poles also swung heavily on Brian Allen, and he thought he had Allen as his center of the future until Allen backed out and stuck with the Rams. The team turned to Lucas Patrick, who has experience with Luke Getsy but was as highly sought after as Allen.
Lastly was the Ryan Bates tender. Poles thought he had his right guard of the future, but the Bills matched the offer sheet for Bates. The offer was competitive and made Buffalo think hard. Still, Poles did not get his man, and now they still do not have a right guard slotted in. This is one spot he did not find a replacement. Unfortunately for Poles, the timing of the Bills matching the tender happened to be when he was being interviewed, and he gave off raw emotion.
The honesty of Poles is refreshing, but you could tell he was disappointed, and it seemed like his top three signings did not go the way he wanted at all.