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Evaluating Ryan Poles’ First Moves As Chicago Bears GM

Adding context to Ryan Poles’ flurry of significant roster moves ahead of NFL free agency.

Ryan Poles Chicago Bears GM
Photo: Chicago Bears/YouTube

A regime change at Halas Hall brings about another small-sample-size evaluation of the Chicago Bears’ new GM. Ryan Poles’ first few moves have sent shockwaves through the organization. First, he traded Khalil Mack to the Chargers for second- and sixth-round draft picks. Poles continued to gut the defense by releasing Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman. On the offensive side of the ball, Tarik Cohen was released due to medical reasons.

Surprisingly, many fans were fine with seeing these big names go. For those still skeptical of Poles’ early roster decisions, let’s put them into context. When examining the entire Bears’ roster, Mack, Trevathan, Goldman, and Cohen only accounted for three percent of the team’s total snaps last year.

Looking ahead to the 2022 season, there should be minimal change in the on-field performance due to these moves. Regarding the salary cap, the departures expand Poles’ options. Mack previously carried the largest cap hit, Goldman the fifth, Cohen the eighth, and Trevathan the ninth. That was a lot of money tied up in three percent of the Bears’ playing time.

Still, Ryan Poles hasn’t signaled if the Chicago Bears will undergo a true rebuild or elect to retool in free agency. NFL free agency officially opens on March 16 at 12 PM CT, but negotiations can begin on March 14 at noon. With those key dates just around the corner, Bears fans should have a better understanding of the organization’s direction soon.

RELATED: 3 Free Agents The Chicago Bears Can Target To Replace Khalil Mack

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