The Chicago Bears did not address their need for an edge rusher in the 2023 NFL Draft, which has left general manager Ryan Poles in a difficult situation.
The team had the chance to select a defensive end in the draft but opted for interior pass rushers, which has caused fans to question their decision.
Despite this, Poles believes that the team will find the right player to fit their scheme and is optimistic about the team’s future.
In the meantime, there are still options available to the Bears in free agency or through trade.
This article discusses these options and their potential impact on the team.
No Edge Rusher in Draft
The Bears came away from the 2023 NFL Draft without selecting an edge rusher, which was a disappointment for fans and analysts alike. Poles, however, maintained that the team will not be able to fix all its problems at once and that the right players need to be available to fit the team’s scheme.
The Bears’ pass rush struggled last season, with a pressure rate of only 22%, which was second-worst in the league. The team had several opportunities to select an edge rusher in the draft, but they instead opted for interior pass rushers.
With nearly $36.7 million in remaining salary cap space, the Chicago Bears’ upcoming odds of signing a top-tier pass rusher in free agency are looking good. Leonard Floyd, who spent four years with the Bears before moving to the Los Angeles Rams, is a top target for the team. He had a career-high nine sacks last season and has started every game in the past five years, recording 29 sacks over the past three seasons.
Yannick Ngakoue is another option, having recorded at least eight sacks in each of his seven seasons and being only 28 years old. Other familiar names for Bears’ general manager Ryan Poles include Frank Clark and Justin Houston, both of whom he worked with during his time in the Kansas City front office. Clark generated 56 quarterback pressures last season, but his off-field issues may be a concern for the Bears. Houston had a solid season with 9.5 sacks and an interception with the Baltimore Ravens in 2022.
Chase Young is another potential option for the Bears. The Washington Commanders declined to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, which could make him available for trade.
Young had a fantastic rookie season in 2020 but struggled with injuries and production in 2021. The Bears could trade for him if they believe that he can return to his rookie form.
The Bears did not select an edge rusher in the draft, which has left the team with a hole in its defense.
However, there are still options available to them in free agency or through trade. Floyd, Ngakoue, Clark, and Houston are all solid options in free agency, while Young could be a potential trade target.
Poles believes that the team will find the right player to fit their scheme, but the Bears cannot go into the 2023 season without addressing their need for an edge rusher.
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