In the NFL, playing under a one-year contract is never easy, and Chicago Bears outside linebacker Willie Young won’t have to worry about that, as he’s inked a contract extension with the team.
The deal, which came together late Friday night, will keep Young in a Bears uniform through the end of the 2018 season, general manager Ryan Pace announced in a meeting with the media on Saturday.
Young, who signed a three-year deal with the Bears before the 2014 season, has become one of their most important pass rush weapons during his tenure, making the switch from defensive end to outside linebacker when the team moved to a 3-4 defensive system last year.
In those two seasons, Young has 16 and a half sacks for the Bears, registering 53 tackles overall as he’s established himself as a dominant presence for the team.
When the Bears made the switch to the 3-4 last season, Young was dissatisfied with his new role and privately angled for a trade, according to multiple reports. As the season wore on, Young became a bigger part of the rotation at outside linebacker, and as his effectiveness grew so did his fondness for Chicago. In June he told the media that he was hoping to sign a contract extension with the team.
Now, with Pernell McPhee on the PUP list to start training camp, Young is going to be one of the key pieces on a new-look defense for the Bears. Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman will play the inside linebacker roles for Chicago, and along with Leonard Floyd on the other side, Young should be able to keep racking up sack numbers for the Bears for the foreseeable future.