Ryan Poles and the Art of the Deal

Adam Jahns along with Kevin Fishbain at The Athletic reviews George McCaskey‘s comments to the media at the owners meetings.

McCaskey: ‘Well, that’s where I’ve been impressed with ([GM Ryan] Poles’) discipline because he was very calculated in how he assessed various players that were available as unrestricted free agents and the limit financially that he was willing to go to with each player. He stuck to his plan and I was impressed with that.

‘That’s where I come back to his quality of being self-possessed. There’s something about him. It’s really difficult for me to put my finger on, but he’s very confident and exudes that, and I think the other people on the staff pick up on it.'”

Jahns: I couldn’t help but think of Pace and his spending habits when McCaskey made these remarks. Pace and Joey Laine, his director of football administration, set their price parameters for free agents, too. But whether Pace’s attempts to give John Fox some veterans to work with or Pace’s pursuit of the Bears’ next quarterback, it can also be argued that the team went outside of those parameters to add personnel. You always overpay in free agency. Poles said that himself. Pace once described free agency as “treacherous waters” but the Bears also were a bad team that had to overpay in order to land certain free agents. Look at the Jaguars. They have to do the same seemingly every year.

I totally agree with Jahns here. My understanding is that agents jumped for joy when they found out that the Bears were involved in the bidding for one of their players. Sure, its possible that Pace set parameters on a player and then decided what they were worth. But Pace fell in love with players and I’m convinced that he basically decided that when he wanted someone he simply wouldn’t be out bid. This is ordinarily something that you hear GMs say that you should not do. Pace did it constantly.

There’s been a lot of talk about the philosophies that Matt Eberflus brings to the Bears and how they are a return to the days of Lovie Smith. But right now I’m being reminded far more of returning to the days of Jerry Angelo when the Bears were known to never overpay for a player.

The art of the deal involves always being willing to walk away from the negotiating table. Right now I’d say that Poles understands that is sometimes the only responsible way to build an organization.

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