3 Bears impending free agents who need to be brought back, 3 the team should let walk

2024 is shaping up to be one of the most important years in the long history of the Chicago Bears. What free agent moves should GM Ryan Poles make to start the year off right?

Jaylon Johnson is set to receive a lucrative contract this offseason. Should the Bears be the ones to give it to him?
Jaylon Johnson is set to receive a lucrative contract this offseason. Should the Bears be the ones to give it to him? / Justin Casterline/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
4 of 6
Next

Yannick Ngakoue didn't do enough to stay in Chicago

The Bears brought Yannick Ngakoue into the fold in early August with the hope that he could provide some life to their non-existent pass rush. That never happened, as he recorded only four sacks in 13 games before missing the end of the season with a broken ankle.

The midseason trade that added Montez Sweat to Chicago's roster brought Ngakoue's failings into sharp relief. Sweat's six sacks in nine games, all while being among the best defensive ends in the league at stopping the run, keyed a Bears' defensive resurgence in which they allowed 20 or fewer points in each of their last six games.

The fact that Sweat led both the Commanders and Bears in sacks in the same season is a reflection not only of his own ability in getting to the quarterback, but of the lack of pass-rushing depth on both teams without him.

Ngakoue was supposed to be the answer for the Bears after recording 19.5 sacks in the past two seasons for the Raiders and Colts. He's never been known as a good run-stopper, but his inability to do the one thing he was signed to do leaves him without a use on this emerging defense. The Bears will likely look to fill his spot on the line with one of the top pass-rushers in the draft, with Dallas Turner, Jared Verse, Laiatu Latu, and Chop Robinson standing out as top options.

DaMarcus Walker, Andrew Billings, and rookie Gervon Dexter were all positive contributors this past year, and with Sweat signed to an extension and the opportunity to bolster the line in the draft, Ngakoue just doesn't bring enough to the table at this point in his career to justify bringing him back.