The Chicago Bears are signing Yannick Ngakoue, the team announced Friday. Sources confirmed the news to NBC Sports Chicago's Josh Schrock. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported first on the deal.
The contract is a one-year deal worth $10.5 million, $10 million of which is guaranteed, according to Schefter.
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Ngakoue, 28, is a top free-agent edge rusher in the NFL. Last season with the Indianapolis Colts, he finished the season with 9.5 sacks in 15 games. He added 29 tackles, 16 quarterback hits and one forced fumble to his stat sheet, too.
This is a key move for the Bears' defense. Last season, the Bears ranked last in the NFL for sacks created. They reached 20 sacks by the season's end. Safety Jaquan Brisker led the team with four sacks.
Surprisingly, the Bears opted not to draft an edge rusher in the 2023 NFL draft. They did, however, bolster the defensive line with Zacch Pickens and Gervon Dexter.
In free agency, they signed DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green to fill the gaps. But Ngakoue stands above them all.
Originally a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Ngakoue spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Arguably his best season came in 2017, his first and only Pro Bowl nod. He recorded 12.0 sacks and led the league with six forced fumbles.
In 2020, he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings, splitting his 2020 campaign between there and Baltimore, playing with the Ravens before spending 2021 with the Las Vegas Raiders. In 2022, the Colts traded Rock Ya-Sin in exchange for Ngakoue.
He's a durable edge, never missing more than two games in a single season for the entirety of his seven-year career.
Ngakoue will serve as a valuable piece on the Bears' defensive front this season.