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The Chicago Bears have done a lot of work to their roster so they can perhaps stop having the NFL’s worst record, as they did last season. And the work is not over because general manager Ryan Poles is looking for pass rushers.
He’s looking at free agents.
He’s looking to perhaps make a trade.
Poles knows his team needs to disrupt opposing passers, doesn’t have the personnel to do that well enough, and doesn’t mind admitting the search is on.
“We’re working on it …” Poles said on Chicago’s Bernstein & Holmes Show on Friday. “There are some options, potentially trade options. There’s also some guy on the street still that could potentially come in and help us.
“Maybe something will happen sooner than later.”
Bears Open To Trade For Pass Rusher
And this, of course, raises the possibility the Bears are eyeing Washington Commanders defensive end Chase Young. It is well known the Bears and Commanders had communications in the days leading up to the draft. It’s unclear if those talks were solely draft related or included the topic of trading a veteran player.
But if Poles is in the market, the possibilities have to include Young. The Commanders recently decided not to exercise their fifth-year option on Young, meaning he will be a free agent after the 2023 season.
Young was limited to only nine games in 2021 before he sustained a knee injury His recovery seemed slow and he missed 22 games between the time he blew out his ACL and was finally able to get back on the field late last season.
As a result, Young has had only 1.5 sacks the past two seasons and is entering a season in which he has to prove himself by picking up where he left off his rookie year in 2020. Young had 7.5 sacks that year and was the Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Why would the Commanders move on from Young? Salary cap considerations, the uncertainty of his recovery and the cost of re-signing him if he recovers well suggests they might lose him in free agency. All with no compensation in return.
Justin Houston Makes Sense As Free Agent
Poles can simply dip into free agency if he doesn’t find a suitable trade.
There are plenty of free agent pass rushers still available, although most are pushing or beyond 30 years old and looking for opportunities to win a championship. (The Bears aren’t there, yet.)
The free agent that seemingly makes most sense in Chicago is 34-year-old Justin Houston because he played for Bears coach Matt Eberflus. Eberflus was the Colts defensive coordinator from 2018-21 when Houston collected 19 sacks in 32 starts with the Colts in 2019-20.
The problem doesn’t seem to be whether Houston still has gas left in the tank because he collected 9 sacks last season. The problem is whether he wants to use that gas with a team not seemingly vying for a postseason berth.