Ryan Poles has had a fascinating start to his tenure as GM. Within a matter of weeks, their two main free agency activities fell through. Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi agreed to a deal with the team but failed on his physicality. Guard Ryan Bates accepted an offer sheet with them, but the Buffalo Bills matched that. Their only other notable deal was the signing of Lucas Patrick to become their new center. Needless to say, not everything went as the Chicago Bears had hoped.
However, Pole understands that he cannot afford to regret these missed opportunities. He has to move on to contingency plans, always looking for different ways to improve his workforce. Any GM caught off guard will end in failure. When speaking with the Bears media in Florida for the NFL owners’ meetings, he admitted that the news about Bates (which became public during the press) was unfortunate. That said, it meant that the money he had set aside for this deal could be used elsewhere.
He even had a specific position group in mind, according to Adam Hoge.
We had a raw and live reaction when Ryan Poles discovered the #Invoices matched Ryan Bates’ offer: “It stinks.”
He mentioned that the money/cap space could potentially be used on a CB now.
— Adam High (@AdamHigh) March 28, 2022
All this is not surprising. Cornerback was a source of frustration for the Bears last season. Other than Jaylon Johnson, they had no one they could call reliable. Artie Burns, Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor were each in turn incoherent or just plain bad. Rookie Thomas Graham Jr. showed a few flashes, but it’s an unknown amount. It makes sense that the Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus would prefer veteran experience added to the mix.
There’s no shortage of that in the market despite free agency being weeks old now. Several notable names remain available.
- steven nelson
- Janoris Jenkins
- patrick peterson
- Chris Harris Jr.
- Kyle Fuller
- Bryce Callahan
- xavier rhodes
- Tavon Young
Fuller and Callahan, of course, have prior ties to the Bears. Rhodes revitalized his career under Eberflus in Indianapolis. Jenkins, Peterson and Harris are former Pro Bowlers. Young could quietly be one of the best nickel corners in the league.
Tavon Young will be missed in Baltimore pic.twitter.com/53pOGvehV3
— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) March 10, 2022
Steven Nelson started early😳
– PFF (@PFF) December 2, 2020
Ryan Poles is toeing a cautious line at the moment
He wants to improve the list but is not ready to break the bank. He’s been disciplined in his approach so far. Many call him conservative. Either way, the GM isn’t done making additions to the roster, provided the price is right. Of the names mentioned above, the two that might make the most sense are Jenkins and Young. Not necessarily because they’re the best, but because they’re street free agents. That means their former teams cut them, so they wouldn’t count in the Bears’ compensatory draft pick formula.
Jenkins was doing well last season with the Tennessee Titans but showed signs of his age, allowing a 100.2 passer rating. He will be 34 in October, a figure advanced for this position in particular. Young is a much more palatable 28 and played in every game last season. He also allowed a much better passer rating of 85.4. The key issue with him is the takeout. Young has just two interceptions in 50 games. That might not suit Eberflus and his defensive team.
It will be interesting to see which direction they go.
Ryan Poles tends not to care much about deception. What he said is probably true. That means it’s a safe bet the Bears will add another cornerback before the NFL Draft next month.
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