LAKE FOREST – For many outside observers, including those in the fanbase, it seems pretty obvious what the Bears are doing in the 2022 offseason.
Trapped in a bad salary cap position by decisions made in the previous regime, new general manager Ryan Poles has been forced to make some difficult decisions to get some room under the cap to set up future success.
Hence the release of Tarik Cohen, Eddie Goldman, and Danny Trevathan, the decision not to re-sign Allen Robinson, and the trade of Khalil Mack to the Chargers.
All of this screams rebuild to those who are looking at it from the outside as the Bears piece together the roster they can for 2022. This is all about the future for Poles, and considering the situation he inherited, many can’t blame him.
On Tuesday, however, Poles offered his rebuttal to that notion, unwilling to use the “R” word to describe what he’s doing with the Bears.
“The rebuild thing is, like, super sensitive,” said Poles when asked if he’d describe what the Bears are doing is a rebuild. “No. We’re constructing a very good football team. Regardless of how you use whatever term that is, we just continue to add talent and young talent, older talent, whatever it takes to make the best team possible.”
Poles, as one might expect, took a more positive spin on what he sees from the team that went 6-11 last season and has a number of questions on the roster. The Bears still need to fill both tackle spots on the offensive line while determining where a few new free agents will fit there or in the interior as replacements for incoming starters.
There are still questions as to whom second-year quarterback Justin Fields will throw to during the 2022 season as the Bears are still building up their receiving core. Roquan Smith will lead a defense that now runs the 4-3 without Mack, Goldman, or Trevathan while also looking to solidify starting positions still up in the air.
Draft picks aren’t in ample supply, either, as he comes in with six picks and none in the first round. Perhaps the Bears will trade down or perhaps even trade another player from the roster to move up to acquire some more picks.
Yet Poles has decided not to use “rebuild” with this group and tried to use this example when describing what he sees from the Bears at the moment.
“Actually, late night with the wife, we’re watching TV, the home network, where there are some rooms that are good, you might have to redo some countertops over here, some fresh paint over there. Some rooms are good, you don’t need to touch them,” said Poles. “That kind of the thought process there.”
So does the “R” word apply to that?
“That’s not a rebuild either,” said Poles, who continues to build his first roster with the Bears.