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4 takeaways from the hiring of new Bears GM Ryan Poles – Chicago Bears Wire

It’s been just a few days since the Chicago Bears announced the hiring of Ryan Poles as the seventh general manager in team history.
The 36-year old spent his entire front office career with the Kansas City Chiefs, holding a number of positions in both the scouting and player personnel departments. He was most recently the executive director of player personnel for the Chiefs, but now gets his first GM job with the Bears, the same team that brought him in as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
Seeing as he’s only been on the job for less than a week with a couple notable hires under his belt, it’s next to impossible to judge how he’ll pan out in the role. But I still have some takeaways from his hiring and would it could mean for the Bears going forward.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
One of the biggest issues back in 2015 when the Bears hired Ryan Pace, their previous GM, was the fact he didn’t have total control to hire his own coach. Like this year, the Bears were searching for both a GM and a coach, while using an outside consultant to assist in the process.
When Pace was ultimately hired, the Bears and consultant Ernie Acorsi pushed him to bring in John Fox, rather than someone Pace liked more, such as Dan Quinn or Todd Bowles. The decision didn’t pay off and Pace was looking for a new coach within three seasons. It didn’t sound like the Bears will be making that mistake again.
When Poles agreed to become the new GM, his one condition was that he had total control over the coaching search, according to NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan. The Bears obliged and let Poles take the search over, effectively dissolving the search committee led by Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian. It’s an encouraging move and shows the Bears learned from their debacle in 2015.
Time will tell whether Poles made the right hire as he’s bringing Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus as the team’s next head coach. But at the very least, the process seems more sound than in previous years.
Kansas City Chiefs
Poles held various titles in multiple departments with the Chiefs, namely in scouting and player personnel. While it’s difficult to truly grade how he did in those areas, the Chiefs’ track record shows Poles knew how to find – and retain – talent on the field.
Let’s start with his scouting background. From 2010-2016, Poles held positions in the college scouting department, first as an administrator, then as a coordinator. The Chiefs had a number of key draft selections during those years, such as linebacker Justin Houston, center Rodney Hudson, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, tackle Eric Fisher, tight end Travis Kelce, linebacker Dee Ford, cornerback Marcus Peters, defensive tackle Chris Jones, and wide receiver Tyreek Hill. All of those players made at least one Pro Bowl during their careers.
He saved his best for last, however, as director of college scouting when he played a major role in drafting quarterback Patrick Mahomes and running back Kareem Hunt in the 2017 NFL draft before moving into the player personnel department.
Now shifting over from the college scouting to dealing with the current players, Poles helped show his mettle. He was involved with transactions such as signing safety Tyrann Mathieu, trading Ford to bring in Frank Clark from Seattle, claiming defensive end Terrell Suggs, revamping the offensive line, and more. He’s had success in each area, giving me hope that he can put it all together as the GM of the Bears.

In recent years, we’ve seen the Bears do the opposite of what they had done previously, especially when it comes to the front office. For example, after hiring an older and more experienced John Fox as their head coach in 2015, they went younger and inexperienced with Matt Nagy in 2018. Same with the GM position when they hired Pace after firing Phil Emery from the position. But this hiring of Poles reminds me a lot of what happened with Pace.
The former GM came from one organization, rising the ranks as both a scout and involvement in the player personnel department. Pace was also just 37 years old when he was hired, one year older than Poles. It feels like the Bears went a similar route with this decision as they did the last time. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, but it shows they weren’t willing to have a knee-jerk reaction and go with someone more experienced just because of what happened in 2015.
Time will tell whether or not it was the right call, but I can respect the Bears for not trying to do something different just for the sole fact of doing something different.
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Diversity and inclusion matter in all organizations and workplaces, especially in the NFL. Seeing that 70% of the league is comprised of African American athletes, it would be reasonable to expect the front offices would reflect that statistic, right? Unfortunately that’s not the case, but it’s good to see the Bears do something different and hire their first Black general manager in Poles.
For years, the Bears had a somewhat negative connotation when it comes to diversity, but it seems they’re really trying to change that. A few years ago, the team founded a social justice committee to address social issues in and around the community. Then, after rumors surfaced they were unwilling to commit to a franchise quarterback who was Black, the Bears drafted Justin Fields in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Now, they hired Poles as their new GM, yet another step in the right direction for the charter franchise.
We of course don’t know how Poles will do in the long run, but the fact the Bears finally committed to a Black general manager shows progress for a team that has struggled to evolve with the times.
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