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Bears ‘still looking at edge rushers' this offseason: Report

Bears ‘still looking at edge rushers' this offseason: Report originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Bears GM Ryan Poles likes to say his roster is never a finished product. And he's staying true to that thinking, according to a recent report.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported on "NFL Live" that the Bears are "still looking at edge rushers."

"They're still looking at edge rushers. They probably need one more guy. Love Montez Sweat, love DeMarcus Walker," Fowler said on the show. "... They're sort of waiting to see what develops, to see if someone's got a good bargain."

Poles and the front office did surprisingly little to address the trenches this offseason after making a splash to acquire Montez Sweat from the Commanders during the previous NFL trade deadline for their 2024 second-round pick.

Most notably, they traded with the Bills to get back into the 2024 NFL Draft in the fifth round to draft Kansas edge Austin Booker. Poles and the Bears believe Booker has strong upside, as he finished with eight sacks and 12 tackles for loss in his final collegiate season.

As it stands, the Bears have Walker and Booker to work with opposite of Sweat. They're expecting rookie Gervon Dexter Jr. to step up alongside Andrew Billings in the middle, too. It's a reasonably strong defensive line, but it could be better.

Last season, the Bears finished 31st in the NFL in sacks, posting a lowly 30 takedowns. They bested only the Panthers by three sacks. Sweat became the first player in NFL history to lead two teams (Bears, Commanders) in sacks by the season's end, as he put up 6 for the Bears and 6.5 for the Commanders.

The free agent market is relatively thin. It's highlighted by Yannick Ngakoue, who played for the Bears last season on a one-year contract before breaking his ankle during Week 14, effectively ending his season. Others include Emmanuel Ogbah, Carl Lawson and Calais Campbell.

The Bears rank 14th in cap space, too, as they're about $6 million in the red, according to Spotrac. If they end up chasing a defensive end outside of a trade, it likely won't be a lucrative signing.

But the Bears feel edge rusher is one of the few positions that still needs addressing. All in all, Fowler reports the Bears feel confident about how their roster stands present day.

"For the most part, everywhere else they feel good."

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