The Chicago Bears signed a big-time free-agent pass rusher. Ryan Poles went out and signed 28-year-old Yannick Ngakoue to a one-year, $10.5 million dollar contract. This seems to have been in the works for quite some time. Why did it take this long? Was it the DeMarcus Walker injury that the Chicago Bears aren't disclosing any information on? Was it that Yannick Ngakoue waited because he didn't want to participate in training camp very much? No matter the reason, Ngakoue is now a Bear.
Whenever a team makes a splash signing like this, it causes a trickle-down effect. Just like in economics though, the trickle-down effect doesn't always help everyone. In fact, those who are lower on the totem poll usually suffer. This is what is going to happen to those lower on the Chicago Bears depth chart. To make room for Yannick Ngakoue, someone else on the roster is going to miss the 53-man roster. The question is, who will be the odd man out with Ngakoue here? Let's rank the defensive ends from most likely to be cut to least likely to be cut now that Yannick Ngakoue is in Chicago.
The good news is that the Chicago Bears' defense just got better. The pass rush is going to be better than last year all because of Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue has yet to have a season with fewer than eight sacks. He has averaged over 38 pressures a season.
Ranking Chicago Bears DEs likely to be cut after Yannick Ngakoue signing
1. Jalen Harris
Jalen Harris is an undrafted free agent out of Arizona. He is probably the lowest defensive end on the depth chart. That said, he did flash on a Justin Fields' touchdown throw the other day when he sped around Braxton Jones, causing pressure in the backfield. Those flashes are great and could help him make the team's practice squad, but it isn't enough. Especially when others are looking even better.
Harris played for six years at Arizona. He was viewed as more of an OLB than a true DE coming out of college and never amounted to enough to be drafted. Over those six years (more like five since he only played one game his first year), Harris only generated 13.5 sacks. He is long and athletic but lacks the burst and closing speed needed to make impact plays. He's better against the run than getting to the quarterback. Has a high motor and that should keep him on a practice squad for a few years.