Chicago Bears Free Agency: Identifying the best defensive free agents at each position

Chicago Bears, Dre'Mont Jones
Chicago Bears, Dre'Mont Jones / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Chicago Bears, Justin Houston
Chicago Bears, Justin Houston / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears really need to find two defensive ends this offseason

As of now, the two starting defensive ends on this team are Trevis Gipson and Dominique Robinson. The jury is still out on Robinson, but Gipson has shown us enough that we know who he is as a player and that is not going to change. He is an average, rotational EDGE rusher who cannot be counted on as the main pass rusher in a defense. His three total sacks in 2022 proved he will never be a double-digit sack guy and performs better coming off of the bench.

If I am being honest, the Chicago Bears will need to sign a minimum of two defensive ends during free agency. I have a feeling that they spend a decent amount on one while waiting for the market to settle on another. Here are the top defensive ends.

  • Frank Clark
  • Yannick Ngakoue
  • Dante Fowler, Jr.
  • Arden Key
  • Jadeveon Clowney
  • Justin Houston
  • Zach Allen
  • Samson Ebukam

With this group, not many stand out as strong options. I put Zach Allen in both the end and the tackle categories because I think he's versatile enough to play in either position. Frank Clark has that Ryan Poles connection and is one of the best playoff EDGE rushers in the NFL. Unfortunately, he does not show up on the stat sheets as much during the regular season and is going to cost more than I'd be willing to spend. The best sack specialist on the list is Yannick Ngakoue, but he struggles in stopping the run and will be on his sixth team unless he re-signs with Indinapolis this offseason.

My Bears Choice: Yannick Ngakoue and the cheaper of Arden Key or Justin Houston

The Chicago Bears had 20 sacks last season. Jaquan Brisker, a safety, led the team with four of them. Trevis Gipson led defensive linemen with three. As a team, they were last in the league while the league-leading Philadelphia Eagles had 50 more sacks (70 total) than them. Ryan Poles needs to spend money on at least one of the top sack specialists. Yannick Ngakoue is that player.

Then, I'd look to sign Justin Houston or Arden Key. Houston would be my first choice since he played for two years with Eberflus in Indianapolis. I'd expect he costs less than $5 million per year. Combined, Ngakoue and Houston had half a sack less than the Bears' entire team last season.