The top available defensive free agent, DE Yannick Ngakoue, is signing a one-year, $10.5 million deal, including $10 million guaranteed with the Chicago Bears.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 4, 2023
His agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed the deal Thursday night.
This should not necessarily come as a surprise to Colts fans, as it’s been a foregone conclusion that the team was moving on from the veteran pass rusher since Indy elected to sign former San Francisco 49ers edge Samson Ebukam to a multi-year deal as Ngakoue’s replacement at starting defensive end.
While Ngakoue proved that he could still get after the quarterback, recording 9.5 total sacks and 16 total QB hits for the Colts this past season, he remains a one-dimensional edge. Namely, he’s purely a pass rushing specialist and total liability against the running game.
The Colts are hoping to get comparable pass rush from Ebukam this upcoming season, and theoretically gaining a major upgrade in run defense—while also getting younger.
It’s also somewhat interesting that the Bears and Colts essentially swapped a pair of defensive ends this offseason, as the Colts signed recently released Chicago defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, while Ngakoue was of course just signed by the Bears.
Schematically, it makes sense, as defensively under Chicago head coach (ex-Colts defensive coordinator) Matt Eberflus, the Bears run a similar but not the same (just ask Kenny Moore II!) zone coverage scheme as Colts defensive coordinator Gus Bradley.
Ngakoue seemed like a good human off-the-field when he was here by being engaged in the local community, and he was productive—so we wish him well. He still has value as a veteran situational pass rusher for the Bears. Also, the Colts will see him Preseason Week 2!