Yannick Ngakoue Reacts to Signing $10.5 Million Deal With Bears

Yannick Ngakoue Bears Reaction

Getty Yannick Ngakoue sounds ready to suit up with the Chicago Bears for the 2023 season.

Yannick Ngakoue is letting the world know — in a subtle way — that he is ready to rush off the edge for the Chicago Bears for the upcoming 2023 season.

Minutes after ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that the 28-year-old pass rusher would be signing a one-year, $10.5 million contract with the Bears for 2023, Ngakoue took to Twitter to share a simple, one-emoji message with his newfound fanbase.

The Bears had been widely expected to add another pass rusher to their roster before the start of the regular season given their minor offseason investments in the defensive end position. Ngakoue had also been considered one of the most plausible post-draft options for them over the past few months, becoming more realistic after Chris Emma of 670 The Score reported he had “interest” in signing with Chicago back on July 25.

Now, the Bears have landed their man and done so without needing to make a long-term investment in him. While Ngakoue had previously said he was looking to sign a “multi-year” contract with his next team after playing for four in the past three years, the Bears seem to have won him over with opportunity and guarantees — as Schefter’s report says that his one-year deal with the Bears includes $10 million guaranteed.

“The top available defensive free agent, DE Yannick Ngakoue, is signing a one-year, $10.5 million deal, including $10 million guaranteed with the Chicago Bears,” Schefter tweeted. “His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed the deal Thursday night.”

Yannick Ngakoue Offers Ideal Short-Term DE Solution

There is a reason why the Bears have been so frequently projected to sign Ngakoue in the months since the new league year began. He is an accomplished pass rusher who, for his shortcomings in the run game, has consistently generated sacks for whatever defense employs him. That alone is an asset for a Bears defense that finished with a league-low 20 sacks in 2022 and had a rookie safety finish with the team-high (four).

Ngakoue has specifically proven effective in base 4-3 defensive schemes like the one the Bears run under head coach Matt Eberflus. He generated a combined 19.5 sacks and 106 pressures over the past two seasons working as a defensive end in similar systems with the Las Vegas Raiders and Indianapolis Colts. And, as an added bonus, Ngakoue has a strong track record with availability, missing just four games in his seven years.

More important to the long game, though, is how much the Bears have committed to Ngakoue for the future. The $10.5 million price tag on his deal is more than teams paid to sign either Leonard Floyd ($7 million) or Frank Clark ($5.45 million), and the $10 million in guaranteed money is certainly a bold choice, but the Bears had money to burn with a league-most $28.29 million in remaining cap space prior to the deal.

According to Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger, the Bears still had about $15 million to go in order to hit their minimum spending floor for the 2023 season, and Ngakoue’s new contract will help them get much closer to the required number.

The Bears also retain the advantage of being able to re-evaluate Ngakoue’s usefulness to the team next offseason, when they will have new opportunities to acquire edge-rushing talent. If Ngakoue balls out for the Bears in 2023, he could earn a longer-term contract to remain in Chicago as their veteran staple off the edge. And if not, then the Bears will have two first-round picks in the 2024 draft to use to find his replacement.

Read More