Bears News: Ryan Poles addresses trade for Sweat, Johnson contract, Walker firing

Bears News: Ryan Poles addresses trade for Sweat, Johnson contract, Walker firing


by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Even after reports came out stating the Bears would not be active at the trade deadline, Chicago was able to secure a trade for a pass rusher that can potentially be a game-changer for the defense. Edge rusher Montez Sweat is coming to the Bears from the Washington Commanders, who received a 2024 second-round draft pick in return.

Sweat is someone that general manager Ryan Poles expects to open up a lot of opportunities; they are also working on securing a contract for him for the future.

“We expect him to come here and help our entire team get better. We see him as a long, fast, explosive, relentless defensive end that can help us both in the run and the pass game. And really, I see him as a multiplier. He’s going to allow everyone to play better, our entire defensive front, our corners, our safeties,” Poles said. “We’re currently working on getting a contract done now.”

One person they were not able to secure a contract for was cornerback Jaylon Johnson. Johnson is having the best season of his career thus far and is arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL right now. While it appeared they were working toward a contract agreement, the Bears did give him permission to seek a trade, but he ultimately stayed with Chicago.

Poles provided details on how discussions went and what led to giving him permission to seek a trade.

“He knows that we want him here, and we’ve talked about that … The big thing I want our guys and the guys here to be able to come in my office and talk about if they feel disrespected in any way, and we can talk through it because it’s a tough situation … On Sunday, we met with his side. I had really good meetings in LA. I felt we made progress,” Poles said. “We came back from the trip, and his team wants to explore a trade situation. So, I’m fine with that, but I brought Jaylon in. We sat down, we talked about it. I granted permission to do that. Here’s the thing - I don’t want to lose Jaylon Johnson. If I were to lose Jaylon Johnson, I would like to have a high percentage of hitting on another Jaylon Johnson, which, to me, is a late first (or an) early second … That didn’t happen. So, we are still open to getting a contract done.”

After a strange turn of events on Halloween, things got even stranger the following day with the firing of running backs coach David Walker. Walker is now the second coach that head coach Matt Eberflus hired who is no longer with the team; the first was defensive coordinator Alan Williams who resigned under highly unusual circumstances back in September.

Poles describes firing Walker as doing the right thing and not sweeping it under the rug.

“We have expectations here and this from me, (CEO) Kevin (Warren), (Chairman) George (McCaskey) and Matt (Eberflus). If you don’t meet those expectations, how you move around this building and how you treat people, how to talk to people, how you act, you don’t belong here,” Poles said. “So the alternative is you do nothing, and you just brush it under the rug, and you’re cool with that, which we’re not. Or, you act accordingly to make sure that your culture is strong.”

Teams usually do not have coaches fired or resign (it seems he may have been put in a position between getting fired or resigning) mid-season for non-performance reasons. This has now happened twice in Chicago in under two months. Naturally, this brought about questions about how Eberflus is running things, particularly since these are coaches he hired.

However, Poles came to the defense of his coach.

“Everyday when I see him address the team and I see his approach through adversity, it is stable, and I know on the outside world, it doesn’t look like that, and I know it looks like we’re far away. But this dude comes in every day and just keeps chipping away. He has high integrity,” Poles said. “The people that he brings in here, he’s done the work to make sure that they’re the people they’re supposed to be. Again, we hold that standard. If it doesn’t follow that and people don’t act that way, they’re not here. But, the way he holds everything down here is incredible for how loud it is, how tough it is.”

His ability to keep things together and chip away, as Poles argues, is not reflected in the on-the-field performance of the team. Currently, Eberflus is objectively the worst coach in Chicago Bears history, with the lowest win percentage for a Bears head coach at 20 percent, which is higher than where it was a few weeks ago. Only time will tell if this support for Eberflus will continue or if Eberflus will be one of the next coaches to get fired.

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