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GM Ryan Poles on the Bears’ Free Agent Signings and Trade Acquisitions

Today we get insight into what each of their roles will be. Along with expectations moving forward.

SPORTS-FBN-WIEDERER-COLUMN-TB Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

This morning we had a quick — and I mean QUICK — meeting with Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles on the moves he’s made thus far during the current offseason. You can watch the full presser here. Those moves are as follows.

  • Traded the 1st overall pick to the Carolina Panthers for WR DJ Moore; the 9th overall pick; 61st overall pick; 2024 1st round pick; and 2025 2nd round pick
  • Signed LB T.J. Edwards to a 3-year deal
  • Signed Guard Nate Davis to a 3-year deal
  • Signed LB Tremaine Edmunds to a 4-year deal
  • Signed DL DeMarcus Walker to a 3-year deal
  • Signed Running Back Travis Homer to a 2-year deal
  • Signed QB P.J. Walker to a 2-year deal

Plenty of more moves are expected to be made. We’re only in the first week of free agency.

Here are the highlights from today’s presser with the media.

Schematic Fit is the Biggest Key for free agency

All of us fans have spent time campaigning for at least one to several major signings to take place. We only want what’s best for the Bears moving forward. While GM Ryan Poles understands that, he made it clear that part of the solution is finding the right players for their schemes on offense and defense. He doesn’t want to get into the business of adding players who don’t fit within the coaching staff’s philosophies.

One specific example provided was star OT Orlando Brown Jr. He signed a 4-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals last night for a total of $64M in value. That number was much lower than what his agency the national media put out to the audience. Without getting into specifics, Ryan Poles said that schematics was “a big deal” when providing insight into their decision to not sign Orlando Brown Jr. I can add my personal thoughts below if people get curious about specifics.

From my own perspective, and the perspective of others I’ve spoken with lately, Orlando Brown Jr. does not move well in space. That is a serious issue when installing any wide-zone concept. When one player struggles to move or pull when various protections or run schemes are implemented, the entire line has at least one major hole to account for. When looking at the serious run they made for Mike McGlinchey, who moves very well in space, it adds up. Sacrificing the entire scheme for the hope to make one player fit is a dangerous decision.

Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards were the two best players at their position on the board

Going into some of their signings, Ryan Poles highlighted his thoughts on the entire process which led into landing both young linebackers on long-term deals. People tend to overlook just how bad the linebacker corps became once Roquan Smith was dealt to the Baltimore Ravens. Enter Tremaine Edmunds and T.J. Edwards.

Here’s more elaboration from Ryan Poles on this topic.

Yeah, it’s value. When you look at the board, we felt like those two players were at the top of their positions. We felt like the skill set was gonna help our team. And we decided to go there.

Also mentioned was the idea to look at general opportunities for improving the roster instead of at positions of need exclusively. Linebacker was a need, just not nearly as big as the OL or DL. The OL will be the next topic.

More praise for Tremaine Edmunds and a whole lot of praise for Travis Homer

In total there are seven new players onboard for the Chicago Bears. With the recent departure of David Montgomery, the Bears had another opening at running back. Said vacancy — not role — was filled with Travis Homer. The former Seattle Seahawks player was featured as their 3rd down back and had a substantial role on special teams.

First, let’s get into Tremaine Edmunds.

Ryan Poles loves how strong of a leader he is on defense, and while roles were not confirmed in this presser, it’s a strong possibility that Edmunds will be the “Mike” linebacker in Chicago. Also noted was his length, activeness in coverage, and ability to flow from sideline to sideline. All-in-all a great fit for what was needed on defense.

Now we get into the sizeable amount of hype for Travis Homer’s arrival.

It was made known to the media that Ryan Poles had been a fan of Travis Homer since the player went to college at “The U,” Miami University. His value to special teams is also incredible, and I did recall this epic fake that resulted in a touchdown. Whenever Homer makes a play in the third phase he busts out his trademarked air guitar. Ryan Poles even mentioned that, along with his high marks as a pass protector. Plus, he does bring a little juice to the running game when given the occasional tote.

I still envision his roles to be the same in Chicago. Then again, that was a large amount of Cheerwine poured into the glass from Ryan Poles. We shall see what happens next with this position group at running back.

Plan for Interior OL — Guard and Center — is Fluid

Nate Davis has over 50 career starts at right guard in his young NFL career. However, he could easily be playing at left guard instead. Ryan Poles still believes in playing the best five possible when discussing fits and positions.

A part of the plan was revealed at the same time. Cody Whitehair, the longest tenured member of the Bears’ OL, will be moved around and especially at center. Ryan Poles highlighted Cody Whitehair having over 4,000 snaps at center in his career. This is pretty similar to how his career with the Bears began.

Originally, in 2016, he was drafted to play left guard. Until former Green Bay Packers All-Pro Josh Sitton fell into former GM Ryan Pace’s lap as a late addition. From there, the decision was made to kick him inside at Center, while sandwiched between Josh Sitton and Kyle Long. He remained as the full time starter at center until 2019 when the Bears first attempted to play James Daniels at the same spot. Then Sam Mustipher. Then Lucas Patrick was signed. It’ll be a competition at center in the coming months.

At the end of the day it will indeed be the best five playing on the OL. It’s highly likely to feature Cody Whitehair returning to center.

D.J. Moore is the high-end player Ryan Poles sought during trade with Carolina Panthers

Some housekeeping notes. Shortly after Ryan Poles met with the media, the cameras turned to DJ Moore. You can find that article published a few moments after we’re done here.

Back on topic...

Everybody knows how big the issue at wide receiver was last year. It’s been a hole he tried to fill, first with smaller additions, then slightly larger acquisitions including the trade for Chase Claypool. It still wasn’t enough.

Consider that issue resolved - Ryan Poles made his biggest swing yet by landing the young star receiver as part of the deal to move out from their first overall pick. He wanted to get the deal done before free agency so he could finalize his board of positions and players.

From Ryan Poles’ perspective, both teams got what they wanted in the deal. He could not be happier with the addition of D.J. Moore as part of the package. However, he dove into the actual talks themselves, and even suggested those talks can get uncomfortable once time sets in. That, too, was a motivating factor — locking up the deal before Panthers GM Scott Fitterer began to seriously question himself.

D.J. Moore brings the type of receiver Ryan Poles needed to add within their receiving corps. He highlighted D.J.’s ability to separate quickly and make plays on a frequent basis. He’ll be the headliner for the current receiving corps under construction.

This process will take time and the Bears will not rush into any decisions

The final part I’ll highlight is the patience Ryan Poles insists that he will operate with. There are credible holes on both OL and DL fans along with the media point to. He conceded that, where it’s still early in free agency, there will be strengths and weaknesses on the roster. It also doesn’t mean they’ll flat out ignore those needs.

They were in on the Dre’Mont Jones sweepstakes until the Seattle Seahawks won the auction. This won’t be a team that throws money as players in acts of desperation. As I highlighted in the beginning, schematic fit is the biggest key. They want to add good players who are good fits to each phase of the game.

For what it’s worth, Ryan Poles announced to the media they will be bringing Georgia’s standout defensive tackle Jalen Carter in for a Top-30 visit. This comes after, perhaps, the worst Pro Day out of any player I’ve seen or heard about. He also recently pleaded “no contest” to the charges filed and had been assigned probation along with a $1000 fine and 80 hours of community service. The in-person meeting will hopefully clear a *LOT* of those issues up with the Bears’ brass.

There’s still a great deal of time to fix their issues at the DL, OL, and everywhere else. The Bears will take their time. To give them credit, they’ve already improved substantially with their current additions. Just... bear with us a little longer.