The Chicago Bears finally got their edge rusher in Yannick Ngakoue, who signed a one-year, $10.5 million deal on Friday.
Ngakoue needs no introduction as a pass rusher. The former third-round pick has registered at least 8.0 sacks in each of his seven NFL seasons, including 9.5 with the Indianapolis Colts last season. Ngakoue has totaled 65 sacks since joining the league in 2016, tied for seventh most in the NFL.
But there are concerns about Ngakoue as a run defender, an area the Bears notably struggled last season. While Ngakoue hasn’t been at his best against the run, the Bears don’t view him exclusively as a pass rush specialist.
“We see him as an every-down end, so he’s going have to play in those (early down) situations,” coach Matt Eberflus said. “And he’s done it. He’s been good at it and we’ve got to make sure that he sharpens that part of it as well. And he will do that. We’re excited where he is in terms of being an every-down defensive end for us.”
The Bears felt like Ngakoue was a great fit, thanks to some intel from his former coach and Matt Eberflus disciple, Rod Marinelli, who coached Ngakoue during his time with the Las Vegas Raiders. Bears defensive line coach Travis Smith also coached Ngakoue during that one year with Las Vegas.
“He fits really well, so we’re excited about that,” Eberflus said. “And we had some intel on him. Obviously what kind of teammate he is. What kind of person he is. What kind of worker he is. And he checked all the boxes there for us. He’s going to be a good addition.”