General manager Ryan Poles spoke to that job security during a press conference on Wednesday, November 1, offering a vote of confidence in Eberflus after a 5-20 start to his tenure as Chicago’s lead man on the sideline.
Poles described the day-to-day culture Eberflus has cultivated as “stable,” voicing belief in the head coach and his process.
I know [to] 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. 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 aren’t acting 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. I mean, this team, you watch them — they fight. I know this past weekend wasn’t great, but you can’t watch that team and be like, ‘Oh, they’re going to fold.’ Most teams fold, and they’re not folding.
It’s been hard. It’s been really hard, especially from where we started last year, trying to build this and do it the right way. What I see from him on a daily basis and how he gets this team ready on a weekly basis, to me, I see a grown man that has leadership skills to get this thing out of the hole and into where it needs to be.
Bears GM Ryan Poles Makes Big Bet at NFL Trade Deadline
Poles has made several moves over the past couple of seasons to help Chicago contend. Some of them look brilliant, while others not so much.
The team’s most recent swing involved trading its 2024 second-round pick for Washington Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat. Sweat is playing on the final year of his rookie contract and will hit unrestricted free agency in the spring if Chicago can’t sign him to a long-term extension before then.
The Bears are 2-6 and don’t figure to fair much better over the second half of the season. In other words, the draft pick they ultimately send Washington is going to be a good one — probably in the low- to mid-30s.
If Chicago signs Sweat to a long-term deal, the move probably ends up looking like a good one for the franchise. The 27-year-old edge-rusher has played in and started 67 of a possible 74 games since joining the NFL as a first-round pick in 2019. He has amassed 132 pressures, 85 QB hits and 35.5 sacks over that span.
Sweat looks the part of the D-line difference maker the Bears failed to acquire during the 2023 NFL Draft and is young enough not to be a considerable risk on a multiyear contract — the trick is making sure he signs one. If he doesn’t, it will be the second botched deadline move in as many years for Poles.
The GM also parted ways with the team’s second-round pick at last year’s trade deadline, swapping it out for Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Chase Claypool. Claypool played just 10 games for the Bears, tallying 18 catches for 191 yards and one touchdown before Chicago dealt him and a seventh-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for a sixth-rounder earlier this season.
Bears Positioned to Make Major Roster Upgrades in Offseason
Even after dealing a high second-round pick for Sweat, the Bears are primed to have another offseason full of substantial roster additions.
Chicago still owns the rights to its own first-round pick and that of the Carolina Panthers, which Poles acquired in a trade last spring to move out of the No. 1 overall spot. If the 2024 NFL Draft started today, the Bears would pick No. 2 via Carolina’s selection and No. 3 via their own. The franchise also owns the rights to its third-round pick, two fifth-round picks, a sixth-round selection and a seventh-rounder, per NBC Sports Chicago.
Beyond that, Spotrac projects as of Wednesday that the Bears will have nearly $90 million in available cap space with which to work next offseason. As such, if Eberflus can hold onto his job, two consecutive treasure troves of draft picks and cap space could position he and the Bears for long-term success moving forward.