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Hoge's Bears Things: What Yannick Ngakoue is and what he is not

Adam Hoge Avatar
August 4, 2023

Good morning!

If you went to bed early, you might be waking up to the news that Yannick Ngakoue is now a Chicago Bear. 

Bears fans were hyped last night, and rightfully so. If you missed it, make sure you check out the CHGO Bears emergency podcast we recorded right after the news broke

In the meantime, let’s talk about exactly what Ngakoue is and is not — and why this signing makes so much sense:

What Ngakoue is: He is immediately the best pass rusher on the team. Remember, safety Jaquan Brisker led the Bears in sacks last season with four. Linebacker Roquan Smith was third on the team with 2.5 sacks and he only played in eight games before getting traded. Overall, Bears defensive ends had a total of 6.5 sacks last season. Ngakoue had 9.5 himself with the Colts in 2022. Amazingly, Ngakoue has racked up at least eight sacks in all seven of his NFL seasons — and he’s one of only five players in the NFL who can say they’ve done that. This guy knows how to sack the quarterback.

What Ngakoue isn’t: A three-down player. The pass-rushing accolades are undeniable, but there’s a reason why the Bears are Ngakoue’s fifth team in the last four seasons. He’s not particularly consistent against the run. 

The money here can’t be ignored. A one-year, $10.5 million deal with $10 million guaranteed is a significant investment for a player who hadn’t found a home yet. But the Bears were the perfect landing spot for several reasons. In many ways, he’s the missing piece on a defense that is trending up. The linebackers and secondary are pretty good, but they needed someone to get to the quarterback. The Bears also had plenty of cap space — not to mention a cash floor they need to reach. 

This is yet another move by Bears general manager Ryan Poles that helps the team immediately without hurting the future. 

Up Next: We’ll see if Poles addresses the signing of Ngakoue at some point on Friday. Regardless, the Bears practice at 10 a.m. CT and it promises to be a spirited session after the defense dominated the offense on Wednesday. I’m very interested to see how Justin Fields responds. The CHGO Bears crew will have you covered all day long and we’ll recap the practice at 3 p.m. CT LIVE on YouTube. 

Further reading
Nicholas Moreano dives deep on the Ngakoue signing
Greg Braggs Jr. checks in with a review of Bears camp to this point

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