In the weeks before the 2022 NFL Draft, general manager Ryan Poles made his first major transaction since joining the Chicago Bears when he traded star linebacker Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mack was traded on March 16 — the start of the league year — to the Chargers for a 2022 2nd-round draft pick and a 2023 6th-round draft pick and was a little surprised.
On Monday, Poles said the Mack trade wasn't easy for him and that it was made in the club's best interest, according to The Athletic's Kevin Fishbain.
"With the excitement of the players we did bring in, I would say one of the harder things to do was the Khalil Mack trade," Poles said. "A guy that caliber of a player is not easy to move on from, but it's one of those situations that you knew you had to do what is best for the club."
Since the trade, Poles signed the following eight unrestricted free agents: linebacker Nicholas Morrow, center Lucas Patrick, wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, defensive tackle Justin Jones, wide receiver Byron Pringle, defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, fullback Khari Blasingame and guard Dakota Dozier.
Mack recently thanked Chicago on his official Instagram page and said he was forever grateful to Chicago for the last four years.
In 53 games with the Bears, Mack sacked opposing quarterbacks 36 times, forced 14 fumbles, recovered six fumbles and intercepted two passes. Mack's 14 fumbles rank fifth-most in franchise history.
The 31-year-old was named to three Pro Bowls while in a Bears uniform and came in second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2018.