Chicago Bears Sign Pro Bowl Pass Rusher Yannick Ngakoue

One of the top remaining free agents has a new home. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, one-time Pro Bowl pass rusher and former Indianapolis Colt, Las Vegas Raider, Baltimore Raven, Minnesota Viking, and Jacksonville Jaguar Yannick Ngakoue signed with the Chicago Bears on a one-year, $10.5 million contract with $10 million guaranteed. Despite somehow already changing teams five times in his young career, Ngakoue is a startlingly durable and consistent pass rusher. He has tallied at least 8.0 sacks and appeared in 15 or more games in all seven of his seasons since entering the league as a third-round pick of the Jaguars in 2016.

Ngakoue should see meaningful snaps for the Bears and will likely provide significant difference-making for one of the league's worst defenses. The Bears allowed an NFL-worst 7.4 net yards per passing attempt in 2022 thanks largely due to a pass rush that tallied a mere 20 sacks.

Ngakoue won't single-handedly turn around the Bears defense, but he'll be a competent starter on a roster lacking in that department. At the peak of his powers, he was a borderline elite defensive end; he notched 12.0 sacks and posted an 87.3 Pro Football Focus grade in 2017. Given he's only 28 years old, it's possible that player is still lurking inside him somewhere.

However, there's a reason Ngakoue was still available this late in the year. As productive as he's been, his recent seasons have been underwhelming on closer inspection: his PFF grade dipped all the way down to 47.2 in 2021 and 51.4 in 2022. If that trend continues, the Bears defense could very well be in line for another ugly year, and Ngakoue may have to look for a new home yet again in 2024.

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