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August 4, 2023 8:15 am CT

The Chicago Bears are signing defensive end Yannick Ngakoue to a one-year deal worth $10.5 million with $10 million guaranteed.

Ngakoue is a former third-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016, where he spent four years. He’s also had short stints with the Minnesota Vikings (2020), Baltimore Ravens (2020), Las Vegas Raiders (2021) and Indianapolis Colts (2022).

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Last season, Ngakoue registered 9.5 sacks with the Colts, and he’s totaled at least eight sacks in each of his seven NFL seasons. By comparison, safety Jaquan Brisker led the Bears in sacks last season with four.

Ngakoue gives the Bears the big-name pass rusher the team has lacked, and he should be an impact contributor off the edge for this Matt Eberflus defense.

We spoke to Kevin Hickey of Colts Wire, who gave us the rundown on what we can expect from the Bears’ new edge rusher and why he could be a good fit for Chicago.

What kind of player are the Bears getting in Yannick Ngakoue?

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Kevin Hickey: Ngakoue is an interesting player because he’s been incredibly productive throughout his career yet he’s bounced around to several teams over the last few seasons. Ngakoue is a pure speed rusher from the edge. He’s best as an edge rusher in an even front where he can pin back his ears and get after the quarterback.

What’s Ngakoue’s biggest strength?

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KH: Pass rushing is his biggest strength. He hasn’t recorded fewer than 8.0 sacks in a single season, and he led the Colts with 9.5 sacks in 2022. He has impressive burst off the snap, wins mostly with speed and he loves to work his cross-chop move along with the occasional rip. He’s also a very hard worker and a solid teammate.

Where does Ngakoue struggle?

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KH: The Bears are going to get little to nothing out of him as a run stopper. The want-to is mostly there, but he simply isn’t strong enough to set a good enough edge to make an impact in that area. He also needs to be able to win more consistently early in his reps. Though he led the Colts with 9.5 sacks, his 11% pass-rush win rate (PFF) ranked 50th among qualified edge rushers. That tells us his sacks mostly came from clean-up duty or due to strong coverage. The film will confirm that as well.

What impact did Ngakoue have on defense during his time with the Colts?

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KH: Ngakoue can have a strong impact as long as he’s used correctly. Under Gus Bradley, Ngakoue thrived most when he played the wide-9 and was simply asked to get pressure on the quarterback. But when he’s used as a run defender or in short-yardage situations, it winds up being a slight detriment to the defense. If Matt Eberflus recognizes that Ngakoue is best suited solely as a pass-rusher, then the impact can be strong.

Why do you think Ngakoue could be a good fit for the Bears?

USA Today Sports

KH: Eberflus loves pass rushers who can win with speed and run the arc with bend. With DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green likely playing on the strong side, Ngakoue can be a productive force as a weak-side pass rusher whose sole purpose is to generate pressure. As long as Ngakoue isn’t used as a three-down edge defender (due to his lacking run defense), then the addition should be a solid one.