Bears GM Ryan Poles anticipates ‘fairly quiet’ trade deadline amid uncertainty

By Chicago 4 Min Read

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Plenty can change before the trade deadline Tuesday, but general manager Ryan Poles wasn’t planning a serious shake-up going into the Bears’ game at the Chargers on Sunday.

The Bears have cornerback Jaylon Johnson and wide receiver Darnell Mooney in the last season of their rookie contracts, but Poles has spoken highly of them and seemingly is incentivized to keep them. The team also has been mentioned as a logical destination for Commanders defensive end Chase Young.

“As it sits right now, I think it’s going to be fairly quiet for us,” Poles said on ESPN 1000’s pregame show. “But at the same time, we’re going to be opportunistic in taking information and seeing [whether] it works for our organization both short term and long term.”

Poles inherited four key players who would be up for extensions in his first two years on the job: linebacker Roquan Smith, who was in consideration last year, and 2020 picks Johnson, Mooney and tight end Cole Kmet. He traded Smith to the Ravens at this time last year after making little headway on negotiations and signed Kmet to a four-year, $50 million extension in July.

Johnson has seemed like an obvious piece of the Bears’ future, and Poles said in the offseason that he hoped “he’s a guy that we get to keep here for a while,” but Johnson has repeatedly expressed uncertainty about where he stands. He said last week he was making no assumption about whether the Bears would unload him.

“Everybody wants respect, but . . . can the team and the player find common ground that makes sense all the way around?” Poles said of Johnson. “We want to retain homegrown talent . . . but it takes two sides to make something happen.”

The deadline was busy last season, when Poles traded Smith, then traded a second-round pick to the Steelers for Chase Claypool. He sent Claypool to the Dolphins for a late-round pick after only 10 games.

Fields improving

Coach Matt Eberflus has been highly guarded about quarterback Justin Fields’ recovery from a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand, and Poles didn’t give much insight, either.

He said Fields “continues to get better every single day” but gave no indication on when he might return. Eberflus said he would give his next update Monday, ahead of the game at the Saints.

Patrick rallies

The Bears made a late change in center Lucas Patrick’s game status Sunday morning, saying he was questionable with a back injury, but he started against the Chargers nonetheless. That allowed the Bears to keep Cody Whitehair at left guard and Teven Jenkins at right guard.

This and that

Mooney’s 41-yard catch on the first play of the game was his longest gain since a 56-yarder against the Giants in Week 4 last season.

†  The Bears made defensive end Dominique Robinson inactive for the first time in his career. They drafted him in the fifth round last year, and he had 1œ sacks in his first game but only a half-sack in the next 23.

† The Bears started Duron Harmon at safety in place of Eddie Jackson, who was active despite a foot injury.

Harmon, an 11-year veteran, had played only three special-teams plays since signing Oct. 3.

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