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Ian Cunningham likely in general manager talks for second straight offseason: reports

Last year, Ian Cunningham interviewed with the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals

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Make no mistake, Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham probably won't be an assistant for very long.

Whether or not he earns his first general manager position this offseason or somewhere down the line, a promotion appears inevitable for the highly-touted front office executive. And there is probable interest in his services for a second-straight offseason this year.

"Some of the names I'm hearing most commonly from NFL people as potential candidates to get GM interviews, be it now or in the near future, include: 49ers assistant GM Adam Peters (who could stay put and get the GM title in San Francisco following John Lynch's promotion to president of football operations), Bears assistant GM Ian Cunningham, Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz, Seahawks assistant GM Nolan Teasley, Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds, Browns assistant GM Catherine Raiche, Eagles assistant GM Alec Halaby, Eagles VP of football administration Jake Rosenberg and Chiefs assistant GM Mike Borgonzi, among others," ESPN's Dan Graziano recently wrote.

If you recall, Cunningham was a finalist for two different teams' general manager spots in 2023. He interviewed with the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals, both of which he made the final cut, but missed. Ron Carthon earned the job in Tennessee and Monti Ossenfort won the job in Arizona.

Cunningham joined Poles in January 2022 as his right-hand man. Before then, he spent nearly five years with the Philadelphia Eagles, working his way up to Director of Player Personnel. Between his success under Eagles GM Howie Roseman and in helping develop the Bears' roster, Cunningham has a strong résumé.

But his departure would be quite the loss for the Bears. Poles and Cunningham have a strong relationship, illustrated once through a memorable episode of "1920 Football Drive," offered on the Bears YouTube channel. They've crossed paths several times before working together as former scouts for different teams.

"We had a very similar background and path and the position we played," Poles said. "We'd bump into each other on the road. I think it was like Oklahoma. We'd grab lunch and share thoughts. And there was just a connection there where we saw some things the same way philosophically."

Cunningham further depicted the two would meet up for runs on scouting trips. They developed a connection and even "made a point" to meet up during an NFL combine. Cunningham is a strong confidant for Poles in the Bears' front office.

His finger prints are tied to the Bears' roster moves, which have been seemingly outstanding since this past offseason. They drafted Darnell Wright, traded the No. 1 pick for a haul including DJ Moore, signed T.J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds and even traded for Montez Sweat (while extending his contract, too) before the NFL trade deadline.

For Cunningham, it feels like a matter of "when" versus "if" in the idea of him becoming a general manager.

This offseason, there will be a number of front office jobs open, too. The Raiders and Chargers both have vacant general manager spots. There's potential the Patriots and Commanders also have front office openings, should the two jettison Bill Belichick and Martin Mayhew, respectively.

Stay tuned to see which teams could take a stab at interviewing Cunningham this offseason.

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