As Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles enters Year 2 of his rebuild, he has a partner who will help develop his vision in Kevin Warren.
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles enters a very important offseason. with about $120 million (and rising) in salary cap space and eight draft choices in the 2023 NFL Draft, including the top overall choice, he has a ton of flexibility to speed up the latest rebuild.
When he took over, Poles had to begin the rebuild on his own. Sure, he had a staff to work with, people he chose and trusted. However, the people above him were the same ones who helped get the Bears into the situation they find themselves in.
Before his recent retirement, Ted Phillips had been with the Chicago Bears for nearly 40 years. In the past 24, he’s been the team’s President/CEO. He’s done a great job on the business side of the team but that hasn’t translated to fielding a consistent winning product.
Poles wants to have a synergy between the business and the player side of the team. He has the example of what happened with his previous team, the Kansas City Chiefs, of how to get it done. Kansas City has doled out big contracts to their star players while still having enough to pay for second-level talent, all the while raising the franchise’s value.
Now Poles gets to do it in Chicago.
In Year 1 of the rebuild Poles had to establish his vision of the rebuild. That was a big accomplishment as he had to get the team to accept another season filled with losses. He did it, and his plan is working almost to perfection.
Now, in Year 2, he has someone from the higher-ups who shares his vision. The team just hired former Big 10 Commissioner Kevin Warren to replace Phillips.
Warren has a reputation for getting things done. He has two decades of experience in the NFL, having been with the then-St. Louis Rams, the Detroit Lions, and the Minnesota Vikings. He has experience in having a good balance between the product on the field and the business of running the team.
In Minnesota, Warren was instrumental in getting a new stadium. This is something the Bears are working on now. They bought land in Arlington Heights to build a new stadium and sports complex. That adds a lot of value to the team and brings in a ton of added revenue.
Warren is the kind of person who fits in well with Poles’ vision. He dreams big stuff and challenges his people to make the impossible possible. He’ll give Poles every tool he needs to get things done.
This is what the Bears need. They need a President/CEO to understand what the general manager wants and needs and helps him get it. With Phillips being more of an old-school player, there would be many things that he wouldn’t approve.
It is important to note that George McCaskey, the Chairman of the Board, is also an old-school guy. However, Waren is the bridge between old school and new school. He has the ability to connect with the old and new so he could get the job done.
Remember, there aren’t many conferences in the NCAA that are more old-school than the Big Ten. In the three short years he was there, Warren oversaw the expansion of two iconic West Coast schools, UCLA and USC. Additionally, he was able to reach a new seven-year, $7 billion media rights deal.
Warren is someone who just gets the job done and now he is doing his thing for the Chicago Bears. He and Poles seem to be a perfect fit. Year 2 of Poles’ plan is falling into place and he has a partner who will move heaven and earth to get the rebuild on the right track.