When news broke regarding the trade of the #1 pick in the draft to the Carolina Panthers, we posed the following question to the contributors at this site: “In the wake of the Panthers trade, what’s one free agency move you want Ryan Poles either to make or to avoid and what’s one draft move you want him to make or to avoid?”
Here’s what our team had to say about free agency.
Josh: The free agency move I want Poles to make most is putting money into the offensive line. Orlando Brown, jr. makes a certain sort of flashy sense, but I agree with the line of reasoning that says he might not be the best available fit for the Chicago Bears. There are rumors around Chicago and Mike McGlinchey, which could make a ton of sense. Honestly, I want a “Jason Kelce” type at center, because I would love for Fields to have an elite veteran to help him over the next two years and help him dig out from the mess that has been made of his start in Chicago. Of course, Chicago has the money to pursue multiple options here, but the best veteran center available should be a priority.
ECD: For me, it has to be making multiple splash moves all across the D-line. Especially at 3-tech and the DT group as a whole. The Bears certainly need to protect Justin Fields better with an O-line good enough to be worthy of having a young ascending QB. They currently have two long term options available between five positions in Braxton Jones and Teven Jenkins. The Bears D-line has zero such options between four spots. It all starts with landing a disruptive force of nature at 3-tech. Dre’Mont Jones is young, has flashed serious potential, and has his best football ahead of him. Land him long term and also look at difference makers for the shade, anchor end (left side end), and the freak (right side end). The edge can be addressed during the draft with pick nine overall.
Lester: With Moore in the fold, the Bears can now avoid the lackluster wide receiver free agency class — looking at you, Mecole Hardman and Allen Lazard — and focus elsewhere. Give me right tackle Jawann Taylor from the Jags. He’s a better pass blocker than the other RTs on the market, and while he’s not known for his run blocking, it’s not like he’s a creampuff in the run game. The Bears aren’t going to continue running the ball 56% of the time, so protect Justin Fields at all costs by getting better pass protectors.
Aaron: Free agency is always a gamble, right? More often than not, a team overspends on players, and even more often than that, those same teams cutting players halfway into their original deal. For me, I think the most important thing that Poles need to do is take a few big swings on players at key positional value points (i.e. OL and DL) and avoid trying to find value in numbers. In my opinion, these two positions should be the first two moves the Bears’ make when the legal tampering period opens. I expect them to be active (they have to be due to the cash floor), but I think it’s important for Poles to lay out two positions that he spends bigger money on and gets right. I know this seems like the opposite of what he preaches but shopping at the top of the market for proven players works out more often than taking chances on one-year wonders.
Sam: In free agency you have to overpay. Especially in the opening days when we expect Chicago to be busy. With that in mind, I am kind of down on Mike McGlinchy more than others. He’s had some injury issues. I’ll take the upside of a player like Andrew Wylie, who has played both T and G, or Jawaan Taylor.
And here’s what we had to say about Chicago's draft.
Josh: The draft move I want Poles to avoid is reaching for Bijan Robinson. I mean, if somehow the guy falls to #61, then sure it’s reasonable to take him. However, while teams need a running back, they don’t need a particularly good one. To be clear—I think Robinson is likely to be very good. The problem is that the difference between a “very good” and a “pretty good” running back is not worth the kind of top draft pick it is going to take to get Robinson.
ECD: For the second consecutive day I agree full heartedly with Josh on something - please do not give into the temptation of drafting *any* RB at ninth overall. Not with so many “blue” players at edge, O-line, shoot even DB and WR available. Save that idea of drafting a RB for day three. I’ll also ask for Ryan Poles to *not* hand out big money to Mecole Hardman or make any other Byron Pringle type of gambles if those signings indeed happen. Although now I feel very confident that certainly won’t happen after acquiring D.J. Moore.
Jon: Hilariously, I just wrote about Bijan as one of my favorite NFL Draft options at #9.
Lester: As far as the draft goes... trading for Moore changes nothing in my opinion. Draft the best player possible, and if the number one guy on their board is a wide receiver, then so be it.
Aaron: The one move I’d like to see Ryan Poles avoid in the draft is taking players at lesser positional values early in the draft. That means linebacker, running back, etc, within the first two rounds. I know it can be enticing to say, “Hey, there’s a potential generational talent at running back sitting there at #9 overall in Bijan Robinson,” but all we have to do is remember the chaos that ensued with the Roquan Smith debacle. Yes, Roquan is one of the better players in the game at his position, but he’s also an off-the-ball linebacker taken at #8 overall and was ultimately traded due to a difference in value between the two sides. These early picks need to be hits and need to see second contracts. Higher positional value spots like the trenches, cornerback, or even receiver make a lot more sense early on.
Sam: In the draft, I think you have to build in the trenches. It’s not sexy to the layman fans who tend to get all lathered up over a WR or some other weapon. No one will regret the Bears having a stud DE or DT in three years’ time. While I think the temptation to move back again might be there, depending on how the draft night falls, I think you stay put and take the BPA inside the top 10. Hopefully, it’s the last time you’re picking there (Save for Carolina’s 2024 pick) for a long time.
The Holistic Approach
Patti: A free agency and draft move I want Poles to make is to sign Javon Hargrave and draft a developmental three tech. I’m imagining Adebawore because I think he has the traits to thrive in that position but would need some time getting comfortable with the switch. Hargrave would be as good a mentor as any, and a contract with two years of guarantees would make a nice timeline for Adebawore to take over the most important position on Flus’ defense.
A move I don’t want Poles to make is treating any of the free agents he signs as a reason not to draft a talented player at the same position. Ideally, FA will prevent the Bears for drafting for need. If he signs Mike McGlinchey, I don’t want him to hesitate to draft Tennessee RT Darnell Wright if he’s the best player at one of the Bears' picks.
That’s where our contributors stand on what we want to happen next. Join in the comments to register your own thoughts.