Rumors: Bears linked to free agent edge rusher Frank Clark
Mark Rebilas - USA Today Sports

Rumors: Bears linked to free agent edge rusher Frank Clark


by - Senior Writer -

The NFL Draft will start gathering the most attention, but it is nice to take a step away from that every now and then. That is what we will do today as we dive back into the NFL offseason and some potential targets the Bears may have.

Granted, there hasn't been much news coming out of Chicago recently regarding whom the Bears are looking at, but you still have plenty of rumors surrounding this team and some of the targets they may have. The most recent rumor may come as a surprise, but it highlights one of this team's glaring needs.

No one will argue that the defense was an issue last season, but in particular, the lack of a pass rush and the ability to stop the run did them in. According to recent reports, the Bears are starting to show interest in a $105 million dollar edge rusher and two-time Superbowl champ that will help solve the pass-rushing issue and be a great leader in the clubhouse.

Those rumors surround the former Kansas City Edge Rusher Frank Clark, who was released by Kansas City earlier this offseason. Clark knows a thing or two about winning Superbowls and has spent his entire eight-year career on championship-caliber organizations. After starting his career with Seattle, Clark went to Kansas City, where he had one of his best seasons last year.

Considering the Bears only netted 20 sacks last season, any production from Clark will significantly improve this defense, which is what this team needs. Clark is not the youngest player on the market and is nearing the end of his elite playing status. However, as a part-time pass rusher, he still offers plenty for many teams, and a part-time Clark is better than anyone full-time that the Bears had last season.

As of last Friday, Clark remains unsigned and has yet to generate much attention, which is surprising. This guy had five sacks last season, but stepped it up in the playoffs with 2.5 sacks on six QB pressures. He is also listed as the 12th-best free agent remaining, so seeing him not getting many offers is a mystery.

Clark turns 30 this summer, and if you look at the trajectory of most NFL EDGE rushers, he has about two, if not three, solid years left before he starts to fall off. Either way, he will upgrade any defensive front, even if it is in a nickel pass-rushing role or part-time blitz packages. Ideally, the Bears would love an every-down pass rusher that can get after the QB, but if he can bring value as a part-time player, why not take a chance?

This guy has been a steady performer across his career and has logged 58.5 sacks so far. He has also registered 30 pressures in the past five seasons, so even if he isn't getting to the QB, he is getting after them enough to alter their presence in the pocket.

While the regular season numbers are great, when the postseason hits, Clark is a different player, and he plays at a level, few can get to. He has 13.5 career postseason sacks, putting him third all-time behind Bruce Smith and Willie McGinist. Depending on how long Clark plays or how many postseason opportunities he has, you could be looking at the future all-time leader in playoff sacks, which is a huge accomplishment.

Although the Bears don't appear to be serious contenders next season, they will be an improved team that can contend for a wild card spot. Adding Clark could help them strengthen that case, and having him on a playoff roster would be something special.

Per NFL Cap, Clark has a market value of 12.5 million per season and is expected to land a two-year deal. However, the longer he goes unsigned, the less likely he will hit that figure, as most expect him to be in the 8-10 per year range. That is a value for any team, and if the Bears want pass-rushing help, he will give it to them.

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