The Chicago Bears have had a huge offseason in preparation for one of the more anticipated seasons in recent memory. All of the moves and excitement stem from the all-important third year coming up for Justin Fields; if he can continue his development and become the quarterback that the Bears envision him to be, than Chicago will be in good shape to compete. This is why the Bears made a plethora of moves on offense this offseason. They traded for DJ Moore to give Fields a true No. 1 wide receiver, while they added guys like D'Onta Foreman, Travis Homer, Robert Tonyan, Roschon Johnson and linemen Darnell Wright and Nate Davis. Offensively they look to be in good shape, but the moves weren't limited to that side of the ball. GM Ryan Poles paid dividends on defense, although there are some pass rushers remaining in NFL free agency that could be sneaky signings.
On defense the Bears signed Tremaine Edmunds, Andrew Billings, DeMarcus Walker, T.J Edwards, and drafted Tyrique Stevenson, Gervon Dexter Sr., Zacch Pickens and Noah Sewell who all figure to make an impact this season. Still, there is plenty of room on the defensive line to add a veteran rusher to make a difference. Although there are a lot of big names off of the market, there are still a few pass rushers remaining who the Bears could sign and rely on to be pivotal anchors in the front seven. There are two pass rushers in particular that the Bears must sign now in order to make sure they land them, one of them being a familiar face. Two sneaky free agent pass rushers that the Bears need to go get are Yannick Ngakoue and Akiem Hicks.
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Yannick Ngakoue burst onto the NFL scene as a rookie in 2016 with the Jacksonville Jaguars and hasn't really looked back. He had eight sacks that year, and had at least eight sacks in all four seasons with the Jaguars. Starting in 2020 he played for the Minnesota Vikings, and he has now flipped between three NFL teams over the last three seasons. Despite his inability to find a mainstay, his production has remained consistent; in 15 games played for the Indianapolis Colts last year, Ngakoue has 9.5 sacks and 29 total tackles. At only 28-years-old, Ngakoue still has plenty left to give the game and is undoubtedly looking for somewhere to call home similarly to what he had in Jacksonville. With the Bears trying to build a contender and looking for an anchor to their defensive line, Yannick Ngakoue would be the perfect fit.
Although he has moved around a lot recently, it is clear that Ngakoue can be counted on for close to double-digit sacks. This is exactly what the Bears need, and they also need someone they could count on being in Chicago for the long haul while the Bears look to build a perennial contender. There is no doubt that Ngakoue is looking for more stability as well, which makes Chicago a perfect fit given he could become one of the headliners of the defensive line. The Bears in general have a bright future ahead, and Ngakoue could hop on the bandwagon right as he enters his prime. For both the Bears and Yannick Ngakoue, the veteran pass rusher signing in Chicago makes a lot of sense.
Akiem Hicks played for the Chicago Bears for six years, the longest tenure he has had so far in his career. During his time in Chicago he was an absolute fan favorite, forming an elite duo with Khalil Mack during the Bears most recent NFC North winning season in 2018. The best years of his career were also in Chicago, but the rebuild the Bears are currently on the cusp of exiting forced Chicago to let him go. Now that the Bears are in need of a pass rusher to complete the remake of their defense, a reunion between Akiem Hicks and the Bears would be a match made in heaven.
Not only could Akiem Hicks come in and be the heartbeat of the defense like he once was in Chicago, but he would be playing for a team that is building playoff hopes. He would be immediately endeared to Bears fans given his prior history with the organization and he would be a huge asset for all of the younger players across the defense. Akiem Hicks was adamant about how much he loved playing for the Bears during his Chicago days, so there is little doubt that he would have interest if the Bears came calling. If the Bears want to reclaim the culture that Akiem Hicks established while he was playing in Chicago, they need to sign him and make the reunion official.