Aaron Lynch signing could be this year’s sleeper breakout for Bears defense

The Chicago Bears bolstered and added depth to their defensive line as they signed former San Francisco 49ers edge rusher Aaron Lynch to a one year deal. The move reunites Lynch with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and provides the team with a prototypical 3-4 linebacker who can line up on the defensive line and play outside linebacker.
Lynch has seen his numbers decline the last few seasons, but his signing could be a typical Ryan Pace small signing that ends up paying huge dividends for the defense.

When Pace took charge of the Bears roster in 2015, his biggest concern was finding quality players to turn around a historically bad defense. One signing made in his first seasons was that of cornerback Tracey Porter. Porter was signed to a one year prove it deal, and was the Bears best cornerback that season even providing the team with their first interception of Aaron Rodgers in two years. The team re-signed Porter for the 2016 season in which he led the team with two interceptions.

In 2016, the team signed journeyman defensive end Akiem Hicks who had previously played for the New England Patriots. The Hicks signing has proved to be Pace’s best free agency signing of his Bear tenure as Hicks has recorded 15.5 sacks in two seasons. Last season, Hicks performed so well that many considered him the best player not to be named to the Pro-Bowl.

The team cashed in on another one year contract in last season when they signed cornerback Prince Amukamara. Although Amukarama did not record an interception in 2017, his play at cornerback was vital to a Bears pass defense that ranked seventh in the league. The team thought so highly of him that they re-signed him this week to a three-year deal.

Heading into the 2018 season, Lynch can be the player the Bears take a chance on that turns into a success for the team. In lynch’s first two seasons in the league, he posted six sacks each season as he was apart of Fangio’s defense in 2014.

One main reason why Lynch’s sack totals declined was because of his health, as he was only able to play in just seven games each of those seasons. If healthy and put in the best situation, Lynch could find success playing aside Hick and defensive tackle Eddie Goldman to form a very respectable defensive line.

With all the major signing for the offense, the signing of Lynch may be just as big for the team in terms of defense. It provides the Bears with another option to rush the passer and someone who is already familiar with the system. It could be vital to Pace’s career because if the Lynch signing works, he will have four straight seasons to where he quietly found a quality defensive player in free agency.

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