The Bears' desperate need for an elite pass rusher isn't a secret. General manager Ryan Poles' offseason additions of Yannick Ngakoue and DeMarcus Walker have done little to bolster one of the NFL's worst pass-rush units.
After Sunday's Week 8 action, the Bears have just 119 total pressures, per Pro Football Focus. That ranks 31st in the NFL, just narrowly ahead of the Arizona Cardinals (111). Ngakoue, Walker, and linebacker T.J. Edwards are all tied for the team lead with two sacks a piece.
Head coach Matt Eberflus' defense can't work at optimal efficiency without the ability to effectively rush with four down linemen.
That brings us to Tuesday's NFL trade deadline, where the Bears could have the option of either selling on cornerback Jaylon Johnson or buying for the future, with edge rusher Chase Young being the name most heavily linked to the Bears.
Young is a tremendous talent. He was the 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and appeared to be heading to stardom before suffering a knee injury in 2021. The Washington Commanders declined Young's fifth-year option in the offseason, meaning the Ohio State product will be a free agent at season's end.
Young is having a fantastic season. He ranks ninth among all NFL defensive linemen in pressures with 38 and is tied for 16th in sacks with 16, per PFF. His 18.1 win percentage ranks ninth in the NFL among defensive linemen with at least 200 pass-rush snaps. In comparison, Ngakoue ranks 46th, 92nd, and 58th, respectively, in those categories.
Young would be a game-changer for a Bears' defensive line that lacks pop.
But there are several factors to consider before taking the swing on Young.
First, the price to acquire Young will likely be a Day 2 pick or potentially as high as a first-round pick. Last year, the Miami Dolphins traded a first-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Bradley Chubb, an elite edge rusher in a contract year. Young's knee injury likely will push that price down a bit, but not by much. The Bears still have many holes to fill, and parting with premium draft capital -- after doing so last year for Chase Claypool -- is likely something they'll want to try and avoid.
The Athletic's Ben Standig reported that the Commanders have been offered a conditional third-round pick for edge rusher Montez Sweat. That pick would become a second-round pick if Sweat agrees to a new contract with the acquiring team. Perhaps a deal like that can be swung for Young, who, by all accounts, will want to test the market and get top dollar this offseason instead of inking an extension with a new team.
That loaded free-agent class should allow Poles and the Bears to be patient at the deadline, knowing they should be able to add a top-tier pass rusher in March if they don't acquire one by Tuesday.
On paper, Young is precisely what the Bears need. He's a young, dynamic, game-wrecking edge rusher who is about to enter the prime of his career.
But if the price to acquire him is too high, and Young prefers to test the open market, the Bears would be wise to save their draft capital and attempt to pay him when he reaches free agency. At 2-6, there's little Young can do to save a Bears' season that is reeling after a 30-13 primetime loss to the Chargers.
He can help in the future, and he's worth acquiring if everything lines up. But the Bears don't need to take a risk and go all-in to trade for him now. He'll likely be available come March. Even if he isn't, they'll have plenty of options, both in free agency and the draft, to address their most significant need.
Poles got in trouble when he overpaid for Claypool. That's a lesson he should have learned from as the Bears enter a critical 30-hour stretch.