The Chicago Bears put a lot of work into bolstering their defensive line for the 2023 season, but there was only so much that could be addressed in the draft and initial waves of free agency. But with all important June 1st designation fast approaching, a few more options could be available via released veterans. The wave of cuts could also impact which teams are willing to be more open to trades, so it’s likely some news and rumors could pop up this week.
As far as the Bears go, general manager Ryan Poles went on record by saying they’re still exploring some edge options for his team this offseason. While there’s no way to know which trade possibilities are available, several veterans are still looking for work.
The updated Top 101 free agents list from NFL.com has 12 names still available, and of those, half are edge players.
Yannick Ngakoue, Age: 28 - Sacks and QB hits sell, but Ngakoue’s inability to stop the run is probably why he’s likely headed to his sixth team in four years.
Jadeveon Clowney, Age: 30 - Another year, another Top 101 free agents blurb for Clowney. He gets a little lower on the list each season; the ugly ending to his time in Cleveland doesn’t bode well for his value.
Leonard Floyd, Age: 30 - Floyd may not have hit double-digit sacks last season, but he played well down the stretch after getting over a knee injury. The veteran is a quality run stopper who can upgrade plenty of starting jobs around the league.
Melvin Ingram, Age: 34 - Every year, I rank Ingram high in this list. Then no NFL team seems to want him, and then he balls out for a while. Even if he goes off-script sometimes, the chaos is worth it.
Frank Clark, Age: 30 - Clark played a lot for the Chiefs — perhaps too much. That helped him rack up more than 50 pressures in each of the last two years, but he’d be better used as a rotational pass rusher at this stage in his career.
Justin Houston, Age: 34 - It’s just silly how Houston never gets old. He is like the edge version of Calais Campbell and isn’t that far from having a case to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
Ngakoue has been the name most linked to the Bears, but Clark and Ingram have a history with Ryan Poles from his days working with the Chiefs, as does Houston, who also played for Chicago head coach Matt Eberflus in Indianapolis.
If the Bears are simply looking for an experienced pass rusher to play off the bench, they certainly have the money to entice any of these guys to come to the Windy City, but some, if not all, of these guys, could be looking for a legit contender to join.
The trade market could heat up as we get closer to training camps, some more vets will be cut, and others may also be inclined to sign after OTAs and camp are behind them.
Do you guys think there’s another acquisition coming, or will the Bears be content to roll with the defensive ends on the roster?