After interviewing for several general manager jobs in the NFL, Kansas City Chiefs executive director of player personnel, Ryan Poles, has accepted a promotion.
Poles has accepted the role of general manager for the Chicago Bears, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Poles was the leading candidate for the job in Chicago, per Rapoport.
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The Bears had scheduled a second interview with Poles sometime early in the week leading up to the Conference Championships, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. Poles had also conducted a second interview with the Minnesota Vikings for their vacant general manager position prior to the Chiefs-Bills playoff game. However, as Rapoport also reported, Cleveland Browns executive Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was the leading candidate for that job, and the Vikings may move quickly to hire him.
In his third year as Kansas City’s executive director of player personnel, Poles was also a finalist for the New York Giants’ GM job during the 2022 hiring cycle. However, the team opted to select Joe Schoen for that position instead.
Thanks to NFL rules, the Chiefs will receive a compensatory pick in the third round of the 2022 and 2023 NFL Drafts for losing Poles.
Poles, 36, started as a player personnel assistant for the Chiefs in 2009. He followed that up with three seasons as the college scouting administrator. In 2013, Poles became the team’s college scouting administrator, a position he held for four years. He spent 2017 as KC’s director of college scouting and was promoted to his current role in 2018.
In 2021, Poles was a finalist for the Carolina Panthers general manager job. But he lost to Scott Fitterer for the role. Poles’ ability to quickly climb the ranks looks to continue this offseason, as he’s bound to become a general manager before February begins.
Chiefs Waive Gordon, Activate Saunders
In other transactional news regarding Kansas City, the Chiefs made some interesting roster moves leading up to the AFC Title Game.
Kansas City activated defensive tackle Khalen Saunders from injured reserve, according to the NFL’s transaction report on Monday, January 24. To make room for Saunders on the 53-man roster, the Chiefs waived wide receiver Josh Gordon, with the expectation that Gordon will re-sign to the team’s practice squad if he clears waivers, per NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero.
Gordon’s Impact Minimal, Saunders Is Added Depth
Since joining the team on September 27, Gordon’s contributions have been minimal to the Chiefs’ offense. In 12 games played this season, he recorded five catches on 12 targets for 32 yards along with one touchdown. This is all while playing 25% percent of the team’s total offensive snaps in those games, according to Pro Football Reference.
Gordon was inactive for Kansas City’s first two playoff games, which presented an opportunity for practice squad wide receiver Daurice Fountain to be promoted on game day in the Wild-Card Round and the Divisional Round.
The defending AFC champions haven’t given up on Gordon just yet, however. As Pelissero mentioned, the team does intend to re-sign Gordon to the practice squad if he clears waivers, which would keep him in Kansas City and allow him to continue to work with the Chiefs’ offense, whether it just be for the remainder of the postseason or into the offseason as well.
If the transaction is officially made on Monday, then the other 31 NFL teams will have an opportunity to put in a claim for Gordon prior to the 4 p.m. deadline on Tuesday, January 25. If no team puts in a claim for him, then Gordon is free to re-sign with the Chiefs.
Saunders, 25, was placed on injured reserve on November 30 and was designated to return on January 4. The days leading up to the AFC title game presented the final opportunities for Kansas City to activate Saunders from injured reserve, as his 21-day window was closing.
As a part of the rotation along the interior of Kansas City’s defensive line, Saunders hasn’t played a game since October 24, which was when Kansas City lost to the Tennessee Titans 27-3. He recorded two tackles in seven regular-season games played this season, per Pro Football Reference.