The Bears will be without a single starting defensive tackle for the remainder of the season. Yannick Ngakouewho signed a one-year contract with the team in the summer, will not return this season due to the ankle injury he suffered on Sunday.
Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that the veteran defensive end suffered a broken ankle and will need surgery, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reports. It marks an unfortunate end to the final year of Ngakoue's contract and deprives the Bears of a key defensive option as they make a late run toward a potential NFC wild-card spot.
Ngakoue, 28, is already on the No. 6 team. However, the Bears, who finished last in sacks in 2022 signed a contract for $10.5 million former artist Jaguars, Vikings, Ravens, Raiders and Colts release artist. Ngakoue has not missed a game this season. Even though Ngakoue was injured late in the match on Sunday, Eberflus said he dealt with it. Given the seriousness of this disease, it is understandable that the plan will not proceed.
This will also put an end to Ngakoue's impressive streak. The former Jaguars third-round draft pick entered this season as the only active player with at least eight sacks in each of the last seven seasons. The NFL nomad won't be able to reach that level now after recording four sacks in his first season with the Bears. Ngakoue will also finish the game with a career-low seven quarterback hits; he had never scored less than 11 points before. The eighth-year vet has also shown toughness on other teams; he never missed more than two games in a season and was sidelined for only four throughout his career. The Maryland graduate will soon match that total.
Bears that traded Khalil Mack AND Robert Quinn in 2022, finishing the season with just 20 sacks. This year they played between 21 and 13 matches. That total still ranks 31st, although Chicago upped the ante at the trade deadline with an acquisition Montez sweat. By defeating the Falcons' offer, the Bears sent the Commanders a second-round pick for Sweat. The Ruder's recently extended pass he has 3.5 sacks as a Bear and 10 overall this season. While Ngakoue led the Bears in sacks, trading Sweat reduced his standing on the team. Sweat will now be present at the start of the job as the anchor of the team in a hurry.
Chicago added DeMarcus Walker AND Rasheem Green this off season. Walker worked as a starter prior to the Sweat trade, and the $7 million-a-year prospect is now expected to return to the starting position. The Bears are one game back of the No. 7 spot in the NFC playoff race, though they're being chased by 6-7 teams alongside the Packers, who currently have the final wild-card spot. Chicago hopes Walker and Green will effectively complement Sweat in the future.