2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Chase Young
Cary Edmondson - USA Today Sports

2024 Bears Free Agent Target: Chase Young

by - Senior Writer -

It's not too often that a team goes into full-blown tank mode in a matter of hours. That is what the Washington Commanders did last season as they unloaded both Montez Sweat and Chase Young in a matter of hours during the trade deadline. Young went to the 49ers, where he wasn't as effective as he would've liked, but it was Sweat who thrived with the Bears and ultimately signed a five-year extension to anchor the defense.

Adding Sweat to the Bears' defense was a massive upgrade for Ryan Poles, as the Bears became a top-five defense by the end of the season. Sweat also became the first player in NFL history to lead two different teams in sacks, which was the main reason why the Bears wanted to extend him. Now that he is locked up, the Bears know they need to focus on adding more pass rushers around him as they look to take the pressure off Sweat this season.

As strange as it may sound, reuniting him with Young is a definite possibility. The Bears were one of the finalists for Young last season before landing Sweat. Now that Young is on the open market, the Bears could make a run at him again, as that duo would look great in a Bears uniform.

The former No. 2 pick burst into the league four years ago as one of the top pass rushers in the game and flashed immediate potential. His biggest issue has always been health, as he has not played an entire season in his four years. That includes last season when he missed some time, so adding Young will come with some concerns about the longevity of his body.

Even with his lack of production the past two seasons and his inability to stay healthy, Young is expected to be one of the most sought-after EDGE rushers in free agency and to land a contract in the 12 million range. That is a significant risk for a long-term deal, but if the Bears could get him on a short two—or even three-year deal, it would be worth the risk, as the Bears pass rush would reap the benefits from it.

Last season was the healthiest Young has been in a long time, as he played in 16 games between Washington and San Francisco. Ironically, only six of those games came as starts, as Young played a much different role than in the past. Still, Young posted good numbers as he finished the season with 25 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 15 QB hits, and two pass breakups. Those numbers were not at the level of Sweat, but together in Washington, they combined for 12 sacks in eight games, so imagine what they could do in this ever-improving Bears defense.

Young was one of the best players on the field during his rookie season and continued into his sophomore season until he tore his ACL in week 10. Although still productive when on the field, he hasn't been the same player since that injury, which is puzzling when you think about it. Although not a great player the past few years, Young has still proven to be a good player and, in the right situation, could be great again.

Pairing him with a player he is very familiar with could help bring out the best in him, which in return could make him great again. After picking up five sacks with Washington before the trade, Young only had 2.5 with the 49ers. Some will look at that and question the decision to trade for him, but when you have a defense as deep as the 49ers, it is hard to see the field, and that is what Young was going through.

The Bears must shore up their pass rush, especially with Yannick Ngakoue hitting the free-agent market. Young wouldn't have to worry about a deep defense preventing him from seeing the field as he would instantly be inserted into the Bears starting lineup and paired with Sweat again.

Adding Young to this defense would finally give the Bears that intimidating feel they have been lacking since 2018 and would allow Matt Eberflus to shift certain players around to put them in better spots. Getting pressure on the QB is crucial in today's game and the Bears wouldn't have problems with that if Young and Sweat were paired together again.

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