How will the Bears fill their need for another edge rusher?

Buffalo Bills v Washington Commanders
Buffalo Bills v Washington Commanders / G Fiume/GettyImages

The 2024 league year is here and players can officially sign with teams. The previous three days we saw some premier edge rushers find new homes throughout the NFL. This has left the Chicago Bears without a true edge rusher opposite of Montez Sweat. However, this does not mean the Bears can't add talent at this position.

The Chicago Bears could look for rental options at edge rusher

With some of the premier edge rushers off the table, the Bears may have to take a different approach to finding a starting edge rusher. Assuming the Bears elect to fill the edge need in free agency, there are some solid players still available that the Bears could target. However, with every day that passes it seems more likely that the Bears will look to fill their edge need with either a rental option.

Chase Young, Edge

One edge rusher the Bears could bring in is Chase Young. Young was a highly regarded prospect coming out of Ohio State. Young was selected second overall by the Washington Commanders in the 2020 NFL Draft. Young got off to a promising start in his rookie year, where he recorded 7.5 sacks, 44 combined tackles, and 10 tackles for loss. His performance on the field in 2020 earned him the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Following his promising rookie year, Young had two injury-plagued seasons that cost him playing time. He played 12 games in 2021 and 2022 combined and totaled 1.5 sacks, 33 combined tackles, and 3 tackles for loss. Young got healthy and played in 16 games in 2023 and found some similar success to his rookie year, where he totaled 7.5 sacks, 25 combined tackles, and 7 tackles for loss.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of contract the 24-year-old will bring, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him sign somewhere on a prove-it deal. The Bears have the capability to sign him to a one-year prove-it-deal, thus reuniting him with former teammate Montez Sweat.

Jadeveon Clowney, Edge

Another edge option for the Bears could be Jadeveon Clowney. Similar to Chase Young, Clowney was selected early in the draft, going 1st overall to the Houston Texans. Since then Clowney has played for 5 different teams in 10 seasons. During those 10 seasons, Clowney has totaled 52.5 sacks, 363 combined tackles, and 99 tackles for loss.

Clowney entering his 11th season could be a nice fit opposite of Montez Sweat but contract details will be very important to Ryan Poles and the Chicago Bears. Poles has made it apparent he won't overspend or hand out long-term deals to aging players. If the Bears could get Clowney on a one-year deal I could see it being a very nice fit for both sides.

Yannick Ngakoue, Edge

Last on this list of potential edge targets is Yannick Ngakoue. Ngakoue spent his 2023 season with the Chicago Bears. In the 2023 season, Ngakoue recorded 4 sacks, 22 combined tackles, and 6 tackles for loss. This was however an underwhelming season for the 28-year-old. In his 8 seasons in the league, he has 69 sacks, 224 combined tackles, and 71 tackles for loss.

The career production is there for Ngakoue and he is still only 28 years old. Ngakoue also did not get to play a full season with Montez Sweat. I believe that with a full season with Sweat and this improving defense, Ngakoue could have a very solid year. Similar to the other two players on this list, the contract details will be very important. If Ngakoue were to return to the Bears it would more than likely be on a short-term deal.

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