Bears

Free Agent Breakdown: Bears Sign DE Willie Young

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Willie Young. (Getty Images)

Willie Young. (Getty Images)

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By Adam Hoge-

What happened: The Bears signed defensive end Willie Young to a three-year deal. Young, 28, started 15 games for the Lions a year ago.

How it affects the Bears’ salary cap: Young’s deal is for $9 million over three years with a $2 million signing bonus and $3.95 million guaranteed, according to USA Today’s Tom Pelissero. The Bears cleared $9.8 million in cap space when they released Julius Peppers, so they should still have a decent amount of room even after this signing.

How Young fits the system: The Bears needed another starting defensive end and Young will be in the mix to be that guy. Last year, Young totaled three sacks, 11.5 knockdowns and 15 hurries, according to STATS, a disruption total that would have led the Bears. In other words, he’s another upgrade and makes the defense better. That being said, it is fair to worry about Young bringing some of the Lions’ lack of discipline over to the Bears. He’s an emotional player and there were concerns about his discipline coming out of college. Things like this can’t happen.

For what it’s worth, Young and Bears head coach Marc Trestman were both at North Carolina State in 2005 and 2006.

What’s ahead: The Bears could go forward with Lamarr Houston and Young as their starting defensive ends, but they still need depth at the position, and they need to add another younger pass rusher to develop.

How this affects the Bears’ NFL Draft plan: Maybe the Bears don’t need to draft a defensive end in the first round, but using an early pick on one would still make a lot of sense. These signings might make it easier to look at the secondary in the first round. The Bears are still in a position where they could justify any defensive pick at No. 14 overall.

Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.

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