How Ryan Poles Mastered His Quarterback Balancing Act This Offseason

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How Ryan Poles Mastered His Quarterback Balancing Act This Offseason

Chicago Bears

Watching another Aaron Rodgers drama-fest play out up north has me appreciating the handling of Justin Fields this offseason. In speaking with The MMQB’s Albert Breer, Bears GM Ryan Poles lays out how he went about keeping the peace in what could’ve been an ugly situation.

It began with open lines of communication with both Fields and his agent: “I think the biggest thing was really just staying in contact with him and his agent, (David) Mulugheta, and just letting him know that we’re gonna figure this thing out—were going to communicate as we move forward because I just knew that with all the noise, hes going to hear different things,” Poles said. “At the end of the day, Justin is still a young kid. I don’t care how mature you are, that stuff affects you.”

Even with that, Poles admits he couldn’t say with 100 percent certainty that Fields was going to be his guy. And his explanation to Breer:

“Because the tape goes around with my staff and our coaches, and if it’s universally known, there’s someone special special, and it blows us away, well, that’s what this league is about,” Poles told Breer. “I couldn’t give him the definitive answer of yes, we’re rolling with you next year, [because] we had to do the full deal.”

OK, so the Bears didn’t directly indicate to Fields that he was their QB1. And Poles had his reasons, as he was just doing his due diligence on behalf of the team. I don’t want to throw a parade for Poles doing his job to its fullest extent. However, I know better than to take it for granted when a GM goes that extra mile. Bears fans are all too familiar with previous regimes and their inability to be as thorough as necessary. So I’ll tip my cap to Poles for his work here.

Also, I wonder if it was wholly necessary for the Bears to express it to Fields. After all, Fields was sounding confident that he would be Chicago’s guy moving forward when the topic was discussed during Super Bowl week. So maybe they didn’t need to explicitly say it to him. And at the end of the day, it was Poles’ moves that said everything about the franchise’s intentions. Isn’t that what matters most?

Because instead of allowing trade talks to linger into late April, Poles took the best deal available on the Friday before the new league year opened up, moved out of a spot where the team would take a top QB, *AND* snagged a legitimate WR1 while doing so. There isn’t a move that better informs Fields that this is his team in 2023 like getting that big play wideout that everyone was wanting. Heck, even the defensive-leaning head coach was hinting that he wanted that type of wideout.

So, yeah, when Poles says to Breer “I think my actions have said enough” I think he is spot on. And frankly, I admire it. Actions speak louder than words. And what Poles has done to this point has said more than anything he could’ve put in Fields’ ears. Should Poles be done? No. There is still work to do — on both sides of the ball. But taking care of QB1 with a top receiver is a strong start to an important offseason.

The Breer piece at Sports Illustrated is an informative and enlightening read. I encourage you to check it out in its entirety, as there is a bunch of other stuff worth chewing on and dissecting:

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.