Should Bears re-sign Yannick Ngakoue?
Jamie Sabau - USA Today Sports

Should Bears re-sign Yannick Ngakoue?

by - Senior Writer -

When the 2023 NFL season ended and the 2024 offseason began, this Chicago Bears team wanted to address many needs. One of the needs they were most certain to highlight was the defensive front, in particular, adding more of a pass rush to a team that has struggled to get after the quarterback the past two seasons.

Trading for Montez Sweat and signing him to an extension immediately helped their pass rush, but unless they add more pieces around him, they will continue to struggle. After failing to add a reliable pass rusher in free agency and passing on one in the draft until the fifth round, the Bears will now enter Phase Three of the offseason still searching for help on that side of the ball, which could be their focus the next few months.

Where the help comes from is a matter of what they want to spend, but Yannick Ngakoue, a player recovering from a season-ending injury, could be worth a look. Ngakoue was signed to a one-year free agent deal last season and was viewed as a player capable of having a big season.

He got off to a strong start and had 3.5 sacks in the team's first four games before cooling off the next few weeks. Then came a broken ankle midway through the season that not only ended his campaign but also put him on the mend. He could potentially be forced to sign another one-year prove-it deal. Could that play into the hands of the Bears, as they may be willing to run it back with him if the price is right?

If that is their mindset, that would be fine, as Ngakoue is already doing football workouts less than 150 days after breaking his ankle. That alone is very encouraging, and it does make you wonder if the Bears would be willing to take a flyer deal on him again to pair him with Sweat.

No one talks about Ngakoue enough, but he has been one of the more consistent pass rushers in the game for several seasons. From 2016-2022, he averaged nine sacks and nine tackles for a loss per year to go with 19 QB hits per season. That included three seasons of double-digit sacks, as he has always had the ability to get after the QB.

Most of his production has come from himself, as there haven't been many times when he has had that complimentary pass rusher. He did have one in Minnesota a few years back in Danielle Hunter, but all Ngakoue did was pick up seven sacks in six games with the Vikings before being traded. That is the element Sweat can add to Ngakoue, as less pressure on both of them could lead to more sacks.

At just 29 years old and coming off a down season, running it back with Ngakoue may not be a bad idea for this team. It is a low-risk, high-reward deal that would benefit both parties involved and could definitely take this defense to another level. With multiple seasons under the Matt Eberflus system, Ngakoue is very familiar with the style of defense he likes to run and the scheme that is put together.

We always talk about players wanting to be comfortable when they sign in free agency, and this would fall into that category. After earning close to eight million dollars last season, Ngakoue could be in line to make that again or even a little less based on his performance from a season ago. The financial side of things wouldn't be an issue for the Bears, but it could be the terms of the deal that could be the hold up.

Offering him a one-year prove deal makes the most sense, as the Bears need to ensure he is back to 100% before offering any long-term contract. However, given that he is 29 years old, has played for Eberflus before, and is a proven player capable of adding double-digit sacks to your team, signing him to a multi-year deal also makes sense as he would come cheaper than most edge rushers and would give the Bears some much-needed stability on the defensive side of the ball.

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