The clock is ticking on the Chicago Bears to improve the pass rush

Chicago Bears, Matt Eberflus
Chicago Bears, Matt Eberflus / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears concluded their OTA and mandatory minicamp last week, and the Bears still have one glaring weakness on their roster: An edge rusher.

The market for pass rushers has gotten smaller recently when ex-Bear Leonard Floyd signed with Buffalo Bills, and former Chief Frank Clark joined division-rival Denver Broncos. General Manager Ryan Poles knows Clark very well from when they were with the Chiefs between 2019-2021. As talented as Clark is, he has had issues off the field. And Poles has strongly emphasized character, as evidenced by passing on Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter in the NFL Draft in April.

The Chicago Bears must quickly make a decision about an EDGE rusher

Veterans Yannick Ngakoue and Justin Houston are still available and are ready to sign at any moment. While Ngaouke was quoted he is only interested in signing with a Super Bowl contender, Clark's signing with the Broncos indicates money remains a deciding factor since he has already won two Super Bowl rings with the Chiefs. And the Bears still remain the team with the most salary cap space available.

If the Bears are willing to give up trade capitals, both Washington Commanders Chase Young and Minnesota Vikings Danielle Hunter are presumably available via trade.

Young played with Justin Fields at Ohio State albeit only one season(2019), and has a tremendous amount of respect for him. But after a stellar rookie season in 2020, he has been troubled by injuries and did not have his fifth-year option picked up this off-season. He simply has to produce in 2023 or he will be looking for a new home in 2024. There is no doubt his medical record will be a huge determining factor for any team let alone the Bears to discuss trading for Young.

Meanwhile, Hunter chose to sit out of the minicamp as he seeks a new contract. After coming off a 13-4 season in 2022, the Vikings are going through a roster purge of their own, much like the Bears did last off-season. The Vikings already parted ways with Za'Darius Smith, who was traded to Cleveland this off-season, and just released Pro Bowl Running Back Dalvin Cook.

Personally, the Bears should explore every opportunity to acquire Hunter. His skill set and familiarity with the NFC North would be a great fit. They added Demarcus Walker from Tennessee Titans this off-season. But Trevis Gipson, Rasheem Green, Dominique Robinson, and Terrell Lewis don't inspire much confidence.

The good news for the Bears is that the Vikings are not afraid of making trades within their own division under GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who did interviewed for the Bear GM job. They acquired Tight End TJ Hockenson from Detroit last season and before that also traded their own first and second-round picks for Detroit's first, second, and third-round picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, allowing the Lions to select Alabama Wide Receiver, Jameson Williams.

Will Hunter have a Khalil Mack-like impact when Mack was acquired back in 2018? Probably not. But they won't have to give up first-round picks, as they did with Mack, to acquire Hunter. Poles have to be creative with the compensation they are willing to give up for a player like Hunter.

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Both Poles and Matt Eberflus have stated they are still looking to add more players. But the available free agents are dwindling and the price for both Young and Hunter will go up significantly as other teams could get involved. Right now, it's a staring contest between the Bears and available edge rushers. And the Bears might be forced to blink sooner rather than later.