Yannick Ngakoue, Bears Agree to 1-Year, $10.5M Contract After 1 Season with Colts

Yannick Ngakoue, Bears Agree to 1-Year, $10.5M Contract After 1 Season with Colts

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVAugust 4, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - DECEMBER 17: Yannick Ngakoue #91 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates after a play against the Minnesota Vikings during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 17, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears and free-agent defensive end Yannick Ngakoue agreed to a one-year, $10.5 million contract Thursday, agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal includes $10 million in guaranteed money.

Ngakoue, 28, spent the 2022 season with the Indianapolis Colts. He recorded 29 tackles and 9.5 sacks, emerging as an effective edge-rusher while playing for his fourth team in three seasons.

The Las Vegas Raiders traded Ngakoue to the Colts last March despite the 2017 Pro Bowler recording 10 sacks during the 2021 season.

“He’s doing a good job,” former Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley told reporters of Ngakoue last season. “I’ve seen him really grow through the year. He’s really working hard at it. He’s taking extra reps in practice…

“It’s good to see that his hard work is coming to fruition some and he’s becoming a more well-rounded player versus the run, versus the pass. He’s a guy that’s just like everybody else, he wants more. But it was great to see that he had the big play for us last week.”

Ngakoue spent his first four NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, earning a 2017 Pro Bowl nod before having a falling out with the organization that included a social media spat with Jaguars executive Tony Khan in 2020. He’s since spent the last three seasons failing to find a long-term home, as the Vikings, Ravens and Raiders all traded him and the Colts allowed him to hit free agency without much attempt to re-sign him.

Still only 28 years old, Ngakoue has a good amount of prime left, and he’s been remarkably healthy. Over his first seven NFL seasons, Ngakoue has never played fewer than 15 games in a year.

While he still leaves much to be desired against the run and can be inconsistent, he’s racked up at least eight sacks every year of his career as well.

He could provide a much-needed boost to the Bears after the defense finished dead last in 2022 with 27.2 points allowed per game. The pass rush was especially lacking, with zero players tallying more than four sacks last year.

With DeMarcus Walker also joining the team in the offseason, Chicago should have more firepower on the edge in 2023.

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