The people complaining are idiots.
Success in the NFL means building through the draft. If you land your draft picks and start from where the Bears are starting out at, you supplement with short term contracts (dollar value doesn't matter, nor does cap hit so long as the biggest one takes place in year 1).
I mean, I can spell out the blueprint, because it isn't any type of state secret.
1) Sell off, cut and trade all old assets in order to tank for a year, assuming you do not have a good QB (this is teams 99% of the time - the Bears ended up being the situation that was the other 1%).
2)Draft your Quarterback (If you are the 1% that already has a legit franchise QB, trade down to maximize picks).
3) In the short term, grant short, free agent contracts to players who at least are average NFL starter quality. Reward the ones who excel in your system with longer term contracts at the end of their contract term (with a year left). Let the ones who are just ok or get beaten out by draft picks walk. You use free agency to raise the FLOOR of your team (the least amount of games you can win).
4) Have to be able to draft. This is where you build your team. You need to come away from round 1 with a pro bowler in most cases, round 2 with a really good starter, and round 3 with a solid starter. Everyone else is either a project or depth. This is where you raise the CEILING of your team (how many games you can win overall).
There's always situational exceptions, but overall, that's the blueprint. Its simple, right?
In theory, yes. But because many of these NFL front office people have egos the size of California, they fuck it all up. They might think they don't need to bottom out in 1, which then leads to proverbial NFL hell where a team is just consistently middle of the road and only able to sneak into the playoffs every 3-4 years. Or for part 3, they instead try to buy their way out of mediocrity which only lands them in salary cap hell before they can accomplish anything (looking at you, Ryan Pace). Or worst of all, for 2 and 4, they have really bad scouts, a really bad evaluation process, and end up not being any good at drafting (also looking at you here too, Ryan Pace).
And even though they are failing at it, they double and triple down on stupid. Good ole Greg Gabriel, who acts like the biggest football genius on Twitter, is a perfect example of how someone can let their ego fuck everything up for the team.
That's honestly one of the reasons I like Poles. He's confident, but humble. He brought in help from the Eagles to make SURE he had people who check him and his work. And when you listen to the GMs who have done it with excellence before, the Ted Sunquists, Scott Piolis, Bill Polians, etc - they always say they made sure they had people who weren't afraid to challenge them on their way of thinking on a player, who weren't afraid to tell the GM that they were wrong. Those guys will tell you, by being open minded with that, by having to defend their thoughts and sometimes admit when they were wrong, or even if they ended up being right, by being forced to really dig deep thoroughly against knowledgeable people challenging them, it made them MUCH better GMs.
But not all GMs are humble enough to allow for that. In many ways, its an ego-driven sport...