Bears reportedly interested in All-Pro pass rusher
Tommy Gilligan - USA Today Sports

Bears reportedly interested in All-Pro pass rusher

by - Senior Writer -

It is no secret that Ryan Poles has expressed his desire to add an EDGE rusher this offseason, but here we are, entering training camp with still no EDGE rusher signed. Granted, Poles did a great job of building up his defense this offseason, but he still needs to address their most significant need, which was pass-rush help.

For the Bears defense to improve as a unit, they will need to pressure the QB much more than they did a season ago. It looks like that help will need to come from within right now unless the Bears still have a plan up their sleeve. With Yannick Ngakoue still on the market, it is shocking to see the Bears not making a run at him to sign him to a reasonable deal.

There is a reason for that, which seems to be the Bear's desire to pursue someone else as the Bears are seeking another EDGE rusher in veteran Justin Houston. This may come as a surprise considering his age, but Houston fills a couple of needs for this team.

For starters, he has been one of the better pass rushers in the game for the past decade and can still give the Bears an added boost that they have been missing and would end up with the most sacks on them. He is also a veteran presence that this defense lacked last season, and he wouldn't come as a long-term commitment that the Bears may not want to invest in a player his age.

Houston is a four-time pro bowler who not only checks a lot of the boxes the Bears are looking for but has also had an outstanding NFL career so far. The soon to be 35 year old has logged more than 500 tackles in his NFL career while also coming away with 111 sacks. Houston also has five interceptions and one touchdown to his name, so you can see how much of a playmaker he has been, as his resume speaks for itself.

Apart from Ngakoue, good luck finding another player with Houston's credentials this late in the game, so the Bears better act fast before it is too late. When you look at Houston and his career, his best season was a decade ago when he came away with 22 sacks in 2014. Granted, he will never be at that level again, but he continues to be one of the more valuable players on the defensive side of the ball, as he has registered 63 sacks in 104 games since his breakout 2014 season.

Not only are the Bears looking for consistency on defense, but also a player that can give them production, and Houston brings both of those attributes to the table. You also have the familiarity side of things where Houston worked with Poles in Kansas City and then spent time with Matt Eberflus during his Houston and Indianapolis days. Given that he is nearing the end of his career, Houston wants to go to a winner, but playing for someone he has a connection with could come into play.

While most fans may not be on board with this pickup, given his age and the direction the Bears have been going this offseason, Houston has been linked to the Bears for a while, even if it hasn't been talked about a ton. He is just what this team needs, providing them with the game-changing pass-rushing ability they lacked a season ago.

Ideally, this team would love to add an EDGE rusher that they can control for multiple seasons. That will not happen with Houston, as he will most likely get a one-year contract with a potential option year tied to it. That leaves the Bears with little to no risk, as they have an easy out if he doesn't pan out and a playmaker if he does. Initial projections have Houston landing a one-year deal in the eight to ten million range, which the Bears can certainly afford.

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