A lot of Bears fans look at Bears General Manager Ryan Poles and see him as a guy who’s an undoubtedly elite General Manager. However, I want to look at some things Poles has done that get overlooked by fans in terms of poor moves.
Drafting Velus Jones in the Third Round
Velus Jones was looked at as a day 3 pick by most analysts and scouts. However, the Bears selected him in round 3 of the NFL Draft. They passed on guys like Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen, who was a pro bowl player as a rookie. Velus Jones struggled with fumbling kick returns as well as staying on the field as a Wide Receiver while being part of a horrible receiving corps.
Trading the 32nd Overall Pick for Chase Claypool
I was honestly a fan of the move to go get Claypool, you had to give Fields real weapons. However, Darnell Mooney went down with a season ending injury a couple of weeks after Claypool got to Chicago, and Claypool ended the 2022 season with less than 15 receptions as a Bear. Claypool had the opportunity to get targets, he had the opportunity to get catches. There was a problem though. He couldn’t get any separation and he couldn’t seem to get down the playbook. There’s a world where this works out, but to give up essentially a first-round pick for a guy who is now your number 3 Wide Receiver and will likely not be on your team a year from now just is not good business in the NFL.
Botched the Roquan Smith Situation
Bears fans say they love the Roquan trade now because he wasn’t a fit in our system and didn’t play well last year when he was on the team. I don’t think that’s necessarily untrue, but he was not in any position to play well given the front 4 that was in front of him as well as the lack of quality Linebackers around him. Now, maybe a guy you’re giving 20 million dollars to shouldn’t need Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn in front of him with Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman up the middle in order for him to look like an elite Linebacker, but there’s definitely an argument that Roquan wasn’t given much of a chance. Now imagine they kept Roquan and just signed TJ Edwards and had Jack Sanborn, instead of giving Tremaine Edmunds a deal that was only 2 million dollars cheaper in AAV. Again, just poor business. Maybe Roquan wasn’t going to accept any offers because he felt disrespected, but we don’t know or think that was the case.
Didn’t Sign any Premier Offensive or Defensive Lineman in Free Agency
Now, this could change if the Bears end up signing Orlando Brown, Ben Jones, or Yannick Ngakoue. They could also trade for Deforest Buckner, the Colts Defensive Tackle. However, not landing Javon Hargrave, Dre’mont Jones, Zach Allen, Dalvin Tomlinson, Jawaan Taylor, Kaleb McGary, or Mike McGlinchey when the biggest 2 needs on your team were defensive line and Right Tackle is not good. Sure, they signed Interior Lineman Nate Davis, but guess what? The Bears already had Cody Whitehair and Teven Jenkins. So unless they signed Davis with the intention of playing Whitehair at Center, did they move the needle on their offensive line? No, I don’t think they did. Assuming the Bears don’t get Orlando Brown Jr. in free agency, they’d be looking at using the number 9 overall pick in the draft on an offensive tackle. The Bears had the money this offseason to go out and get one of these guys. And with the offense seeming to have all the weapons they need and the defense having a good secondary and linebacker core, you’re just missing the pieces on the line on both sides of the football. Adding a key player that takes away a need would have been super important, and unless Orlando Brown, Yannick Ngakoue, or even Jadeveon Clowney sign, the Bears won’t be able to compete for the division title in a suddenly weak NFC North with the Vikings trying to get younger and the Packers losing Aaron Rodgers. The Bears had a chance to win the division and seemingly didn’t take it.
This article isn’t made to bash Poles and say he deserves to lose his job, but more so to show Bears fans that he’s not proven to be as great as you think he is.