Roster Moves: Bears sign elite pass rusher and veteran TE
Robert Scheer - USA Today Sports

Roster Moves: Bears sign elite pass rusher and veteran TE


by - Senior Writer -

It took long enough, but as expected, Ryan Poles did address the EDGE position in camp and brought in the best EDGE rusher on the market. According to initial reports, which became official overnight, the Bears and Ngakoue agreed to a one-year contract worth 10.5 million dollars. This is an incredible deal for the Bears and something they desperately needed to get done.

When you look at all of the struggles this team had a season ago, a lot of those struggles are predicated on the defense, or should we say, the lack of a defensive unit with several trades taking place during the season that saw tons of key pieces move onto to different teams the Bears defense took a hit, and the results showed every Sunday.

Not only were they ranked near the bottom in every defensive category, but this team couldn't get after the QB as they finished with a league-worst 20 sacks. Add that to a league-worst defense against the run, and things were rough on defense last season. Knowing that the defense needed to improve if the Bears wanted to get back on track, Poles did a phenomenal job of adding defensive talent in the draft and free agency but failed to address their biggest need of getting to the QB.

Entering camp, the Bears were still without an EDGE rusher, but Poles clarified that one would be added before the season started. Not only did he stick to his word, but after hearing his name linked to the Bears for several months, Ngakoue is officially coming to the Windy City on a one-year deal. Any time you add a player like Ngakoue, it instantly makes your defense better, as he has the potential to give you 10-plus sacks every season.

This is a significant win for Chicago as they are not tied with him for a lengthy contract should he struggle out of the gates with Chicago. If the production isn't what the Bears expect from him, they can get rid of him after one season and not miss out on anything. However, should he do what everyone expects of him, you could see the Bears extend him beyond this season, as he still has a ton of playing time left.

Of all the remaining free agents, Ngakoue was not only the best defensive player left but perhaps the best overall player on the market. The Bears wanted him this entire offseason, but it took Ngakoue a little while to get on the same page after initially stating he wanted to play for a contender. Either he changed his mind or saw the Bears as a contender.

Even before this pickup, the Bear's defense was going to be one to watch this season, as they had the potential to be a top-15 group this season. Adding Ngakoue will make them even better, as they could wind up in the top 10 before the season ends. This could be one of the bigger steals this offseason as Poles continues to hit home runs.

Lost in the shuffle of the Ngakoue pickup was another under-the-radar move by the Bears, as they have also landed former Green Bay Packer TE Mercedes Lewis on a one-year deal worth 2 million.

The 39-year-old Lewis is about to play his 18th season, giving him the record for most games ever played by a TE.

The once pro bowl caliber TE capable of giving you 600 plus yards per season, Lewis is no longer that player and understands his role on this team. What is that role, you may ask? Well, Lewis has been one of the best run-blocking TEs in the game for quite some time, and joining a run-first team that finished with the most rushing yards last season will be the perfect landing spot for Lewis.

Along with his run-blocking abilities, Lewis can also get involved in the passing game, especially in the Red Zone, as he will give Justin Fields a significant red zone target he hasn't had in recent seasons.

Lewis isn't at the same level as Ngakoue regarding the signing, but he is still a massive pickup for this team that has been making huge pickups all off-season long.

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