Bears Free Agent Target: Yannick Ngakoue
Robert Scheer - USA Today Sports

Bears Free Agent Target: Yannick Ngakoue


by - Senior Writer -

Now that football is officially over until August, at least from an NFL side of things, it is time for every team to start focussing on the offseason and what comes next. Considering that the Bears missed the postseason this year and had the worst record in the league, this team has already started to figure things out for their future.

This team has as much of an upside as anyone this offseason, and all starts and stops with the No. 1 pick. Whether the Bears decide to keep that pick or trade it away, that decision will affect what this franchise does going forward, as it will drastically impact the organization's future.

Along with that, this team also has more than 100 million dollars to spend this offseason, which is by far the most money of any team. That should allow them to plug as many holes as possible as they strive to get back into the playoff conversation rather than later.

When you look at this roster and how it is constructed, you could point to virtually every position as a position of need. That includes the defensive line, as the Bears were flat-out awful, to put it lightly, at that position. Not only did they allow the most rushing yards in years for a Bears organization, but they had next to no pass rush and ranked near the bottom of the league in sacks.

That doesn't bode well when you have a secondary filled with rookies and younger players, as the Bears were tested on all levels of the defense. The best way for this defense to get back on track would be by getting some form of a pass rush which is where the Bears could look to go in free agency. However, not the premiere pass rusher. One name that makes sense for Chicago is Yannick Ngakoue from the Indianapolis Colts.

At 6-2 and 246 pounds, Ngakoue is very small to be a defensive end, hence why he has moved to the EDGE rush position.

Across 110 games since breaking into the league, the 28-year-old has been a menace on the field, picking up 163 solo tackles, 21 forced fumbles, and, most importantly, 65 career sacks. That includes 12 sacks with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017 and 10 with the Vegas Raiders in 2021. Apart from those two seasons, Ngakoue has never had less than eight sacks in a season, as he has played consistently since breaking into the league.

Ngakoue elected to sign with the Colts last offseason and was planning to play for Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams until they went to Chicago. While with the Colts, Ngakoue played in 15 games and was one of their better defensive players, as he came away with 29 tackles this season, including 9.5 sacks. That is more production than what anyone else had on the Bears roster.

Adding a guy like Ngakoue to the Bears defense will immediately help that side of the ball, giving them an excellent pass rusher. When you look at the trades the Bears have made the past two seasons, getting pass rushers is critical, and you could pair him with a guy like Will Anderson Jr to give them a lethal combo.

At 28, Ngakoue still has plenty left in the tank, and you could sign him to a three or four-year deal if you see fit. Financially, he would require at least eight figures, but even in the 12-15 million range, he would be a massive pickup for this organization.

Not only would he be productive with the Bears, but his veteran leadership would be crucial to many of the younger players on this Bears roster. They lacked that last season, and you could tell they needed it at specific points in 2022. Whatever direction the Bears try to take this offseason, look for them to be highly active in the free agent market and target all positions of need.

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