Emmanuel Ogbah with the Dolphins
Photo credit: CBS Sports

Chicago Bears Emerge as Key Contenders for Former Super Bowl Champ

Published May 13, 2024 at 8:55

The Chicago Bears have been actively addressing their roster gaps during the 2024 off-season. They've managed significant signings and extensions, which include securing Jaylon Johnson with a new contract, replacing Eddie Jackson at safety, and finding new options at center. Additionally, the Bears have bolstered their receiving corps and invested in their future franchise quarterback. However, concerns linger about the edge rusher position, despite having Montez Sweat.

DeMarcus Walker, viewed as a strong but predominantly power-focused rusher, and rookie Austin Booker, who holds promise but lacks experience, are current options. Many are hopeful for Yannick Ngakoue's return, yet former Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel suggests focusing elsewhere, indicating that Ngakoue might not be the key figure to watch in this lineup.

Amidst free agency talks, two prominent names have surfaced: Emmanuel Ogbah and Carl Lawson. Ogbah, formerly with the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, fits the Bears' needs more closely than Lawson. Known for his size (6'4", 273 lbs) and quickness (4.63 speed), Ogbah has been productive throughout his career, amassing 42.5 sacks. However, his performance dipped after a major contract extension with Miami, exacerbated by an injury. Despite this, his prior connection with Bears GM Ryan Poles, who was with Kansas City when they secured a Super Bowl victory in 2019 and Ogbah contributed 5.5 sacks in ten games, might play in his favor.

Ogbah excelled in 2020 and 2022, delivering impactful seasons before a torn triceps shortened his 2022 season. His ability to bounce back in 2023, recording 5.5 sacks despite a scheme change, showcases his resilience and adaptability.

Gabriel reaffirms that Ogbah's physical attributes align with the Bears' defensive preferences, coupled with head coach Matt Eberflus' affinity for players who fit his system dimensions. New defensive coordinator Eric Washington's expertise should also aid Ogbah's transition. The Bears are expected to finalize their edge rusher strategy before training camp in July, and if Ngakoue opts elsewhere, Ogbah appears to be the leading candidate to watch as the season approaches.
May 13   |   72 answers
Chicago Bears Emerge as Key Contenders for Former Super Bowl Champ

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