Chicago Bears sign edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue, per report

Ngakoue totaled 9.5 sacks for Colts in 2022

Yannick Ngakoue possible Chicago Bears free agency target

The Bears are filling the biggest hole on their roster.

After months of speculation about how they might improve their pass rush, general manager Ryan Poles is signing veteran edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue to a one-year, $10.5 million contract, according to multiple reports from ESPN and the NFL Network.

Ngakoue totaled 9.5 sacks for the Colts last season. He has 65 total sacks over his seven-year NFL career.

The Bears totaled a league-worst 20 sacks as a team in 2022. By sack rate, they ranked 31st in the league in sacks per pass attempt. For an organization that prides itself on defense and on sacking the quarterback, it was unequivocally a low point in franchise history.

There was much speculation that the Bears might sign a veteran pass rusher in March when free agency began, or that they might draft one high in April’s draft. Neither scenario came to pass.

“We can’t fix everything at a high level in one swoop,” Poles said on the night the draft concluded. “So we are aware of our strengths and weaknesses and we’re going to be opportunistic. That’s why we’ve done what we’ve done and we still have flexibility to do what we need to do to improve in different areas.”

Prior to signing Ngakoue, the Bears still had $28 million in available salary cap space for the 2023 season. That was the most of any team in the league.

Poles has been selective with his free agents. Reports indicated earlier in the offseason that Ngakoue was holding out for a multi-year contract, but that does not appear to be what the Bears are offering.

Ngakoue might not be a long-term solution to the Bears’ pass rush problems, but he should fill a glaring hole on this roster immediately.

The Bears still have two first-round draft picks in 2024 and eight total draft picks if they want to find a long-term solution next offseason. They will, again, be near the top of the league in salary cap space in 2024 as well.

Ngakoue was a 2016 third-round draft pick out of Maryland. He played his first four seasons in Jacksonville, including the 2017 season when the Jaguars reached the AFC title game and had one of the best defenses in football. Since then, he has played for four teams over the past three seasons and been traded three times.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.