Entering the final season of a three-year contract, Willie Young may not be headed toward the free agent market after this season.
The Bears and Young are in talks on a two-year extension that would keep the edge defender in Chicago until his age-33 season, Jason Cole of Bleacher report tweets. Cole reports the deal could be finalized soon.
Despite the Bears having signed Pernell McPhee in 2015 and added Leonard Floyd in the first round last month, the team looks to prefer to keep Young in the fold. He’s been a quality performer who’s done well to deliver on the three-year, $9MM deal he signed in 2014.
The 30-year-old Young has started in eight games during each of the past two seasons and has enhanced his pass-rushing profile considerably during that span. After six sacks in four years with the Lions, Young has registered 16.5 in 30 games with the Bears.
Transitioning from 4-3 end to 3-4 outside linebacker last season, Young was thought to be on the trade block to begin 2015 after being used sparingly during the first half of the campaign. But Young turned it on for the Bears in the second half, making 5.5 of his 6.5 sacks from Weeks 9-13 and looks to have changed the franchise’s tune despite its now-well-equipped cast of outside ‘backers. A former seventh-round pick of the Lions’ in 2010, Young rated as one of Pro Football Focus’ more balanced edge players last season, ranking 24th overall and grading well against the pass and the run.
Although Floyd has yet to sign his rookie deal, he, McPhee and Lamarr Houston are expected to take up $17.22MM of Chicago’s cap this season. Young is only set to occupy $3.17MM of the Bears’ cap this season. That rate is plenty reasonable for the production Young’s provided, and more Chicago-commissioned checks could be coming his way.
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