Chicago Bears Free Agency Grade: Ryan Poles failed the team

Not everyone is a fan of what the Chicago Bears did in free agency.

Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

With the first and biggest wave of free agency in the books, I will be reviewing the vast majority of the moves by general manager Ryan Poles. The Chicago Bears went into free agency looking for a center, wide receiver depth, and an edge rusher.

With almost all the impact players being signed, it is safe to say the Bears did not fill many of these holes at all. This is why I will be awarding Ryan Poles a very poor grade for yet another lackluster off-season. 

Ryan Poles Free Agency Grade: D+ 

We can start with the ugly first. The first of the two moves of the offseason was trading for Ryan Bates, in exchange for a fifth-round pick. It would not seem like that bad of a deal if the Bills didn’t purge their entire roster 20 hours after the trade. Just an all-around head-scratching move, there was a solid chance Bates was going to be released the following day after the Bears traded for him.

Paying D'Andre Swift as a top-ten running back is about as bad of a move as you will ever see at the NFL level, considering Swift does nothing well football-related besides running sideways and backward. Swift has been the same player since he graduated high school, and despite being uberly talented, his field vision is horrific. If I were to give this move a grade it wouldn’t even be on the scale of most school systems because teachers don't give out anything below an F.

Signing the tandem of Coleman Shelton and Ryan Bates who are both not good pass protectors is yet another half-measure by Poles when adding to his offensive line. The last time the Bears had good center play was in 2018 with Cody Whitehair and ever since then, it has been a “bandaids to bullet holes” approach by the Bears at this position. It won’t be a shock at all when Bears fans complain about the offensive line for the fifth season in a row, and when Caleb Williams is in the top three of sacks taken among QBs.

Moves I liked by Ryan Poles:

Keenan Allen was the headline move for the Bears but I don’t think I am going to be nearly as high on the move as some other people. Allen is an awesome WR2 option, but at the end of the day he is 32 years old, so I am going to hold off throwing the Super Bowl parade on this move. I thought it was a good move but I don’t think it is nearly the “homerun move” that some people make it out to be.

Kevin Byard was brought in presumably to be the Eddie Jackson replacement this offseason, but once again, I’m not going to victory lap signing a 31-year-old. Byard is a fine player, probably not the all-pro caliber player he was in Tennessee but he will bring some moxy and veteran leadership to a team that desperately needs it. I don’t love the fit with Jaquan Brisker either, and would have much rather paid Kam Curl who signed for a criminal sub-10 million dollar contract.

I also sneakily liked the move to bring in Gerald Everett who was very solid in a starting tight end role for the Chargers, who will be a great insurance policy to Cole Kmet as well as being able to contribute in two tight end sets. But when your favorite move is between bringing in Gerald Everett and 32-year-old Keenan Allen, you cannot faithfully give Ryan Poles a good grade for this offseason so far.

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