Chicago Bears: What the Aaron Lynch deal means for the team

Chicago Bears (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears have re-signed Aaron Lynch, and the deal has some big impacts on the team for next season.

Patience is a virtue that has been extolled by Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace throughout his tenure. Sometimes it can drive fans to the bottle, and make them a little nervous. Such was the case with the pursuit of the team’s third outside linebacker for next season.

Obviously, the starting roles are spoken for with Khalil Mack and Leonard Floyd occupying the edges. However, depth at the most important position on the defense is critical, especially with Floyd’s recent injury history.

However, as free agent edge rushers came off the board one by one, concern grew over who would fill that role. Recently, Pace hinted at the possibility that Roy Robertson-Harris could slide over to OLB.

Whether that is still in the cards remains to be seen, as the Bears announced today that it re-signed Aaron Lynch to a one-year deal. The veteran edge rusher had a very solid season for the team last year before ending the season with an injury. He gave the Bears exactly what they needed from a rotational rusher.

Bringing him back gives the Bears more continuity as they work to implement Chuck Pagano’s new defensive scheme. It also gives the Bears a lot more flexibility in the upcoming NFL Draft.

There were thoughts that perhaps the Bears would need to utilize one of their precious few draft picks on an outside linebacker. With that need now filled, the team can truly target the best player available.

In fact, they only have two true needs. The first is a kicker, and they will not look to add a kicker until very late in the draft, if at all. The other need is running back, which should be the team’s target with the first or second pick. They don’t have to reach for a player to fill an immediate need on the team and instead, can target any position to continue to add depth behind its starters.

With that said, there are still some other key positions that they could target early, with outside linebacker being one of them — especially with Lynch being on a one-year deal, and a decision on Floyd’s fifth-year option needing to be made next season. The other position they could target early is safety, since Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is only on a one-year deal, so it would make sense to draft his eventual replacement.

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Either way, the Bears have the luxury of choosing the best player available, a mantra preached by Pace, but more easily adhered to when your team doesn’t have a glaring need.