June 21, 2024

After assessing the initial and primary phase of free agency, I’ll be critiquing the majority of the transactions orchestrated by general manager Ryan Poles. Heading into free agency, the Chicago Bears aimed to address key positions such as center, wide receiver depth, and edge rusher.

Unfortunately, with most impact players off the market, it’s evident that the Bears fell short in addressing many of these needs. Consequently, I’m assigning Ryan Poles a notably low grade for yet another underwhelming offseason.

Former Chiefs GM Scott Pioli confident Ryan Poles is the right man to turn  Bears around - Marquee Sports Network

Ryan Poles Free Agency Grade: D+
Let’s delve into the less-than-ideal aspects first. The Bears’ first notable move of the offseason involved trading for Ryan Bates in exchange for a fifth-round pick. However, this move raised eyebrows, especially considering the Buffalo Bills’ subsequent roster overhaul shortly after the trade. With Bates potentially facing release soon after the acquisition, the move appears perplexing and ill-timed.

Additionally, committing to D’Andre Swift as a top-ten running back raises significant concerns. Swift’s skill set, primarily focused on lateral movement rather than vertical progression, doesn’t justify such a substantial investment. Despite his raw talent, his on-field decision-making and vision have remained subpar, making this move a regrettable one.

Furthermore, signing Coleman Shelton and Ryan Bates, both lacking in pass protection prowess, reflects a recurring trend of inadequate offensive line management by Poles. The Bears’ center position has been a sore spot since 2018, and these acquisitions appear to be temporary solutions rather than permanent fixes. It wouldn’t be surprising if Bears fans continue to lament the team’s offensive line struggles, especially if quarterback Caleb Williams faces significant pressure.

Moves I Found Favorable by Ryan Poles:
While Keenan Allen’s arrival was a significant headline, I’m not as enthusiastic about the move as others may be. While Allen adds depth as a WR2 option, his age (32) tempers my excitement. Similarly, Kevin Byard’s signing, likely to fill the void left by Eddie Jackson, warrants cautious optimism. Byard brings experience and leadership, albeit as a 31-year-old player. Additionally, the addition of Gerald Everett, a reliable tight end, offers valuable depth behind Cole Kmet and contributes to versatile offensive formations.

However, when comparing these moves to the entirety of Poles’ offseason transactions, it’s evident that they aren’t enough to merit a positive overall assessment. Consequently, Poles’ free agency performance thus far doesn’t warrant a favorable grade.

Ryan Poles thankful for Boston College roots

 

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