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Yannick Ngakoue is “ready to rush”: what does he mean?

Yannick Ngakoue is “ready to rush”: what does he mean?

The dust settled after the NFL Draft. And now, the time has come to read NFL free agent tweets to try to see if there is a potential match with our favorite team.

With that introduction in mind, here is the latest news from Yannick Ngakoue — which made me raise my eyebrows:

What do you mean by that, Yannick?

For what it’s worth, Yannick Ngakoue tweeted “READY TO RUSH” on July 28, 2023 — This happened two days after reports surfaced that he was showing interest in the Bears and seven days before he officially signed with the team. So maybe we should keep a cool head.

Should the Chicago Bears return Yannick Ngakoue?

I wish there was a simple answer to this question. If that were the case, I would have published this post within minutes. But there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Maybe that’s a good thing. At a minimum, any conversation about Yannick Ngakoue and the Bears should remind us that offseason roster churn continues. Teams don’t stop tinkering just because the 2024 NFL Draft is in the books. The search to strengthen, supplement and strengthen 90-man rosters in the offseason simply does not stop. And the Bears should be one of those teams looking for help, especially along the defensive line.

Last year at this time, we were beating the table for the Bears to bring in Yannick Ngakoue. And for good reason too. This team did not have an impact defensive lineman on its roster. DeMarcus Walker and Andrew Billings were good additions in free agency. Gervon Dexter Sr. and Zacch Pickens represented rookie picks with potential. But there was no defensive lineman whose presence made opposing offenses do a double-take when scanning Chicago’s defense. Ngakoue’s resume (which included a Pro Bowl appearance and two seasons with 10+ sacks) showed the foundation of a high-level player with a history of proven production. It made sense for the Bears to pursue (and eventually sign) Ngakoue.

Unfortunately, Yannick Ngakoue did not live up to the high expectations that accompanied his CV. And just when he was starting to look like the player heralded before the signing, an ankle injury sidelined him after 13 games. If the Bears could get the player who looked like the Ngakoue of old when he played opposite Montez Sweat, then I can view a one-year pillow deal as something that makes sense for both parties. A “prove it” deal could feature Ngakoue for next offseason’s free agency class while giving the Bears time to develop rookie fifth-round pick Austin Booker. There is a win-win potential here if the price is right.

Yannick Ngakoué bearYannick Ngakoué bear
September 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, United States; Chicago Bears defensive lineman Yannick Ngakoue (91) celebrates with defensive back Kyler Gordon (6) after dropping Green Bay Packers ball carrier for a loss in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

What about DeMarcus Walker starting opposite Montez Sweat in 2024?

The Bears shouldn’t slam the door on bringing in Ngakoue. To be clear, this does not mean that I would outright reject the idea of ​​Yannick Ngakoué returning. But I don’t think it should be a priority. And it certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world if he signed elsewhere — which is a credit to the roster that Bears general manager Ryan Poles has assembled.

For example, I’m comfortable with the idea of ​​DeMarcus Walker starting at other defensive endpoint. Walker held down the fort while Ngakoue was out, recording 2 sacks, 7 quarterback hits, and 4 tackles for loss in the final four games of the season while starting opposite Sweat. If you’re the type who likes to extrapolate numbers over small samples, you’d probably like to know what the per-17 pace of play would look like for Walker based on this series of games. Well, I saved you some time and trouble:

  • 8 bags
  • 17 tackles for loss
  • 30 quarterback hits
  • If I could get into that type of production without having to go to free agency to get it, I would in a heartbeat. For what it’s worth, Walker had 7 sacks, 10 TFLs, and 16 quarterback hits in his final season with the Tennessee Titans in 2022. These numbers aren’t too far off from his career per season average. Ngakoue’s 8.6 sacks, 8.9 TFL, and 17.8 QB hits. Maybe there’s something to be had there for the Bears and Walker as a stopgap defensive option.

    That being said, I am still not opposed to the return of Yannick Ngakoue. Players on one-year contracts with something to prove often make for great stories to follow over the course of a football season. I wouldn’t mind if the Bears had one of these storylines to follow when training camp opens this summer.