As the Chicago Bears head out of the bye week, there is plenty of discussion about the team moving on from quarterback Justin Fields. There is just as much discussion about the Bears moving on from head coach Matt Eberflus. However, there is not nearly as much discussion about General Manager Ryan Poles. For the most part, his job appears safe, and that makes sense, but he has not been perfect as a General Manager. What have been his biggest issues?
3. Ryan Poles missed his two biggest free-agent signings
The biggest free agent deal that Ryan Poles gave out this offseason was to Tremaine Edmunds. He gave Edmunds a four-year $72M deal with $50M in guaranteed value. The Bears had plenty of cap space, and we knew that they were going to spend it, but we did not think that they were going to do that. Linebacker was far down the list of needs, and after trading Roquan Smith, the thought was that they could get more out of less from that position.
They paid Edmunds less than Smith, but the difference in play has not been worth it. Edmunds has been a liability this season. You can say there were not great free agents, but players with much bigger impacts at lower costs include Dalvin Tomlinson, Dre’Mont Jones, Ben Powers, and even another linebacker, Bobby Okereke, who has been much better than Edmunds this year.
If the Bears added Tomlinson or Jones, they would not have had to double-dip on the defensive line in the draft. So far, Zacch Pickens has been a bust.
Even worse than Edmunds has been Ngakoue. Edmunds may be worse because of the long-term ramifications, but Ngakoue has brought absolutely nothing and was the Bears second-highest-paid player in free agency. Andrew Billings and TJ Edwards hit, but other free agents include Robert Tonyan, PJ Walker, Rasheem Green, and even in the year prior, the big names are Justin Jones, Lucas Patrick, and Equanimeous St. Brown.
The hope from here is that Ryan Poles is extending his own and not paying for free agents because this year was a bad use of resources.
2. Ryan Poles has blind spots in positional value
Ryan Poles seems to stick to the best player available far more than he likes to take swings at players in positions of need. Teams are built on the offensive line and defensive line. However, Ryan Poles went through the draft for two years without any help at center or on the edge.
He drafted guys like Doug Kramer and Dominique Robinson late, but he left these positions completely bare. Poles had chances but decided to take positions such as box safety Jaquan Brisker, or even last year running back Roschon Johnson and linebacker Noah Sewell went above potential centers or edge rushers in the draft. Evan Brown, Tyler Larsen, Nick Gates, Hjlate Froholdt, and Graham Glasgow have all played at center this year, and all were free agents. Why didn’t Ryan Poles address this?
Everyone knew that edge rusher and center were huge needs, but he spent free agency and the draft bulking up with depth at linebacker. At some point, Poles may want to lean toward positional value.
1. The Chicago Bears have had issues finding the right wide receivers
This one is obvious and has been holding him and the Chicago Bears for a while now. Ryan Poles has not done a good job at adding wide receivers. So far, the list of receivers he has added includes D.J. Moore, Chase Claypool, Byron Pringle, Equanimeous St. Brown, Dante Pettis, Velus Jones, and Tyler Scott. One of these names is not like the others.
He has taken a lot of swings, and almost every single one has been a huge miss. It is not like these have been huge swings every time, but he lost out on the 32nd overall pick for Chase Claypool. Rashee Rice, Josh Downs, Tank Dell, and Jayden Reed are some names who would have gone at that pick. Even Sam LaPorta.
Eight receivers taken after Velus Jones have more yards than Velus Jones. Four receivers taken after Tyler Scott have produced more than him.
Ryan Poles had the number one overall pick, so it was easy for him to acquire D.J. Moore. Everything else he has done in this room is a disaster.