On Thursday night, the Bears signed Yannick Ngakoue to a 1-year, $10.5 million deal with 10 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Ngakoue provides the Bears’ defense with a much-needed and proven pass-rush specialist. Last season, Chicago finished with a league-worst 20 sacks and safety Jaquan Brisker led the team with four. Ngakoue, 28, accumulated 9.5 sacks in 2022 — his third-most in his career.
Adding a player like Ngakoue helps the entire Bears defense, especially when defending the opposing passing attack. The hope is that instead of quarterbacks having all day to throw from the pocket, Ngakoue can speed up a quarterback’s internal clock and force the ball out quicker — limiting the potential for deeper, explosive plays.
One area of Ngakoue’s game that needs improvement and could be why he has played on five different team since being drafted with the 69th overall pick in 2016 is his ability to stop the run. According to Pro Football Focus, Ngakoue has an average run defense grade of 45.7 out of 100 — with his worst coming in 2021 (28.2).
Stopping the run is definitely not Ngakoue’s strength as a player, so it will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Alan Williams and coach Matt Eberflus utilize him on a down-to-down basis. But the 6-foot-2, 246-pound pass rusher can get the quarterback and that’s exactly what the Bears needeed.
Going into the 2023 season, the Bears have made several moves to upgrade their defensive line. General manager Ryan Poles signed DeMarcus Walker to a 3-year, $21 million deal and added Andrew Billings to a 1-year, $2,750,000 contract. The Bears also selected Gervon Dexter Sr. with the No. 53 overall pick, Zacch Pickens with the 64th pick in the third round and took Travis Bell with the 218th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
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