Should the Chicago Bears extend Aaron Lynch or let him walk in free agency?
As the Chicago Bears season has ended we have gone through each upcoming free agent and decided and whether or not they are deserving of a contract, or if the Chicago Bears should let them walk. It has been interesting as a breakdown Bobby Massie showed him to be better than some of other top end options on the market. Kevin White also showed to be expendable.
With that in mind how did Aaron Lynch fare in his first season with the Chicago Bears and is he worth keeping around?
When Aaron Lynch signed with the Chicago Bears we wrote that he was an injury prone pass rusher who could provide on limited snaps and excel in the run game. His effort when healthy was uneven, but when he was running hot he was unmatched. Aaron Lynch was exactly what they signed him to be. Luckily for the Bears, most of his injury issues came in the preseason. In that portion fans were begging for him to be cut.
Nonetheless, the Chicago Bears bet on his tape and familiarity with the Vic Fangio defense. He averaged 22 snaps per game, and added three sacks as well as strong run defense. Overall Pro Football Focus gave him the best coverage grade and run defending grades of his career.
Aaron Lynch is not going to drive a huge market. He was a solid rotational pass rusher and the Bears would rather add to Lynch the replace him at this point. It would make sense to bring him back.
His injury questions did not go away last season. On top of that, the defense is moving from Vic Fangio to John Fox. If Fangio called for him to be depth behind Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, would he come running?
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Lynch was great, but a lot of his best plays were effort based. He blew up runs in the. backfield and chased down quarterbacks when they left the pocket. His best coverages were defending the flats.
Chuck Pagano is not going to change the defense much. However, he is going to ask Lynch to do things a bit differently than Fangio did. If Lynch wanted to come back for a cheap contract to play rotational football that is fine. If he thinks last year should get him a decent contract, or if he is more comfortable with Vic Fangio, he will walk.
This may not be the best year for Aaron Lynch to test the market and see what he is worth. While some of these players will not get to the market there is currently a huge list of edge rushers set to hit free agency. Ziggy Ansah, Demarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, Jadeveon Clowney and Clay Matthews lead a list that goes even deeper. If Lynch wants to test his value he will wait until all of those names have been signed. This gives the Chicago Bears a chance to swoop in with a fair offer.
Last year Lynch signed a one-year, $4.5 million deal and put up 3 sacks. Trent Murphy signed a 3-year, $22.5 million deal with the Bills. Murphy only provided 4 sacks. Murphy is older than Lynch, had injury issues and was recently suspended for steroids as well.
Lynch lost money because he had a bad reputation, but is coming off of a year where his status is higher than ever. At age 26, he likely thinks the Murphy contract is in reach.
Because last years market was arguably much worse than what could come this year, the Bears will want to compromise and try to find a reasonable number between the $4.5 he got last year, and the $7 that Murphy is in line for over the next two seasons.If Lynch is anxious as the other dominoes wait to fall he could certainly take the offer on the table.
However, if Vic Fangio is willing to give the $4.5 again, is that enough to sway him away?