Bears Hire Ian Cunningham, First Assistant GM in Team History

Some history was made at Halas Hall today, as new Bears’ GM Ryan Poles has officially hired Eagles executive Ian Cunningham. He becomes the first assistant GM in team history.

Cunningham will bring 12 years of experience to Chicago’s front office, including the last five in Philadelphia. He started with the Eagles in 2017-18 as the team’s director of college scouting before being promoted to assistant director of player personnel in 2019. Last season, Cunningham served as Philadelphia’s director of player personnel.

The executive also comes with a long history of scouting. Cunningham spent nine seasons with the Ravens as a player personnel assistant and area scout. He has won a Super Bowl ring with each organization. As assistant GM in Chicago, he will report directly to Poles, and the two will be tasked with building Chicago’s next postseason team.

While with the Eagles, Chicago’s new AGM was directly responsible for Philadelphia’s college scouting staff while also doing crossover work on the pro personnel side.

You can read Cunningham’s full bio here.

This is the first front-office hire for the Bears’ newly-minted GM. Chicago still doesn’t; have anybody with solid cap management experience, so it’s possible another addition could be announced soon. Omar Khan interviewed for the GM position that was given to Poles, but he could fill the role on the finance side currently occupied by Ted Phillips. Hiring Cunningham is a step in the right direction, and it now seems that the organization is sincere in its promise to update its formerly archaic way of handling football operations.

More football minds mean less family meddling. Though it may be tough for the McCaskeys to cede personnel interests over to experienced executives, they must realize that doing business the way they have for the last 30 seasons has been a massive failure. A cap guru to take over for Phillips would go a long way in making believers of the team’s fanbase.

Poles and new head coach Matt Eberflus are scheduled to meet with members of the media on Monday, and it’s safe to assume Cunningham will be joining now that he’s been officially announced.

A former NCAA offensive lineman, Cunningham started 31 games for the Virginia Cavaliers and earned honorable mention freshman All-America accolades from as well as ACC All-Freshman Team recognition from The Sporting News. Following his collegiate career, he signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2008.

Poles is also a former offensive lineman and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Bears in 2008.

Cunnigham is now the third front office executive to leave the Eagles for a GM or assistant GM post in the last four years. He was a finalist for the AGM position with the Panthers at this time last year and is considered a rising star among his peers.

“I think the last two major GM searches have all been raiding our organizations, for whether it’s Joe Douglas or Andrew Barry,” said Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie. “We have about five people in our organization that right now I could project will be general managers in this league.”

Coincidentally, Philadelphia’s passing game coordinator, Kevin Patullo, could be in the hunt to be Chicago’s offensive coordinator. The Bears offered the position to Packers assistant Luke Getsy, but he has yet to accept.

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