The Chicago Bears did yeoman’s work adding to their offensive line, offensive skill positions, and defense this offseason.
What they have not yet done is add a proven pass-rushing threat to a much-maligned front.
Enter Washington Commanders EDGE rusher, Chase Young (potentially). Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports Washington will take calls on even if he doesn’t think they will ultimately trade the former No. 2 overall pick, Young, as he heads into the final year of his four-year, $34.5 million rookie-scale contract.
– Chase Young
– 2nd Rd Pick
“Let’s keep in mind that the Bears traded three-time All-Pro edge-rusher Khalil Mack…for a 2022 second-rounder and a 2023 sixth-round pick two years ago,” wrote Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report in an article from June 7 identifying the best potential packages for Young.
Chase Young on the Commanders declining his fifth-year option: pic.twitter.com/vc3Vg688ri
— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) June 6, 2023
“Washington shouldn’t expect more than what Chicago received for Mack.”
The idea that the Los Angeles Chargers would be a playoff, if not title contender was baked into that deal made ahead of last season.
Chicago is not there yet, even with their improvements, meaning their pick figures to be higher and they’ve already seen how that could possibly backfire on them after trading a second-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for wide receiver Chase Claypool only for him to fail to make an impact and the pick to effectively be the final pick of the first round in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Bears – and any other potentially interested team – would have to consider Young’s injury history. He has appeared in just 12 games over the last two seasons including just three games in 2022 with just 1.5 sacks in that span.
His career-high for sacks in a season is 7.5 as a rookie when he made 15 of 16 appearances.
Bears Could Trade for Vikings’ Danielle Hunter
Perhaps the Bears would prefer a little less on the injury history and a little more in terms of production. A more consistent, if not more exciting option could be available on the trade market for the right price.
“Somewhat murky future for Danielle Hunter in Minnesota,” reported Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on June 7. “He has, in fact, generated some trade interest.”
From Inside Minicamps LIVE on NFL+: The #Vikings are receiving trade calls centered around star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter, and the interest is real, sources say. A look inside the complex situation… pic.twitter.com/GKx98NSx0n
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 7, 2023
To be clear: taking calls on a player and shopping him, let alone trading him, are different. He is only 28 years old and has recorded at least 10.5 sacks in three of the last four seasons and the lone season he failed to do so was cut short by injury. He is also on a relative bargain contract in the final year of a five-year, $72 million contract.
His base salary for the 2023 season is $4.9 million, though he does carry a $13.1 million cap hit.
Matt Eberflus: Bears ‘Like’ Multiple Free Agents
If Hunter’s price tag – which should be substantially higher than Young’s – is too rich for the Bears to stomach or they simply prefer not to deal with a division rival, head coach Matt Eberflus has already laid out their alternative plan.
“We’re interested in a lot of free agents,” Eberflus said on May 31 via the Bears’ YouTube channel when asked directly about adding a pass rusher to the roster. “We’re interested in a lot of guys, at all positions right now. So we’re just excited about being able to look at those guys, and potentially add as we go through camp and getting closer to the season.”
Bears Urged to Trade for ‘Stalwart’ D-Lineman With Ties to Coaching Staff
The Bears’ 20 sacks in 2022 were their fewest since 2003 and the third-fewest in the franchise’s storied history since sacks became an official statistic, per Stathead.
It would seem they need to do something, anything but go into the season as-is.