Ryan Poles Dishes on Why He Didn't Wait to Trade the No. 1 Pick

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Ryan Poles Dishes on Why He Didn’t Wait to Trade the No. 1 Pick

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears’ 1920 Football Drive video series is always a hit.

New episodes don’t drop often. Or, at least, they don’t drop often enough for my liking. But when they do reach the airwaves, they often give us a different look at the Bears than what we’re used to getting. Getting a quick peek behind the scenes is a fun treat, particularly this time of year.

In the latest installment of 1920 Football Drive, Chicago Bears General Manager Ryan Poles takes viewers behind the scenes of his blockbuster trade with the Carolina Panthers. You know … the one where Chicago sent the No. 1 overall pick to Carolina as part of a pick swap, an additional second-rounder in 2023, a 2024 first-rounder, a second-rounder in 2025, and stud receiver D.J. Moore? Yeah, that trade.

Big-time trades like this don’t happen every day. And neither do expansive explanations for how it went down from one of the GMs. And yet, here we are with Pace pulling back the curtain on his biggest move to date:

“It’s so fluid. It shifts and changes all the time when you’re talking with different teams. Some teams are super aggressive, some are playing in the gray and you kind of have to read between the lines. But at the end of the day, there was a team in Carolina that stuck with us through the whole process. I knew from the jump that they were a team that really wanted their quarterback. They wanted to control the draft. That meant a lot to them. They got in front early at the Combine. I had a good relationship with their general manager, Scott Fitterer. And felt like, at that time, it was best to close on the deal when we did instead of dragging it out.”

Some interesting perspectives from both sides. The Panthers wanting to control the draft helps me understand why they were so aggressive. Push their best trade chips took some real guts. And I’m digging things on Poles’ end, too. Deciding to strike quickly rather than hold out for a different deal or shop Carolina’s offer for a better one couldn’t have been an easy one to make. Moreover, there was criticism in some circles because Poles didn’t drag it out. But Poles’ explanation of the process helps put it in perspective. Sorting through the teams with serious offers against those in the “gray” area Poles refers to can’t be easy. And sometimes, you get a deal that is so good that you don’t feel a need to shop it around.

Could Poles have taken Carolina’s offer, used it against the Panthers, and struck up an even better deal? Sure. A timeline exists where that could be the case. But to say that means we should also acknowledge an alternate timeline exists. One in which Poles drags it out and doesn’t get a better offer. I haven’t run into a Bears fan who isn’t happy with the return for the first pick. Part of that has to do with the overall haul. But I imagine some of it has to do with not being stressed out about the Bears not having dealt the pick. We’d be on pins and needles if the Bears were still shopping around for offers two weeks before the 2023 NFL Draft. Thankfully, we’re not on that timeline.

For the full episode of 1920 Football Drive, you can watch the video below:

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Author: Luis Medina

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