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Free-agent Yannick Ngakoue aiming to re-establish himself as 'one of the best' pass rushers

For the second consecutive offseason, pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue waits to find a landing spot.

Last year, the veteran edge presence sat on the open market until early August before signing a one-year, $10.5 million contract with the Chicago Bears. The season didn't go smashingly, as he generated four sacks in 13 games and was generally slowed before suffering a broken ankle in Week 14 that ended his campaign -- his second straight season cut short by injury.

Ngakoue told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday that he's aiming to prove he still has juice left in the tank by getting after the quarterback when he gets a chance.

"Honestly, I haven't really been thinking about an offer or details in specific at all," he said of his free agency. "The only thing I've been thinking about is taking that grass again and re-establishing myself on the field as one of the fiercest competitors in the game today. That's the only thing on my mind. Everything else will come after that. I have to re-establish myself and remind people of why I'm one of the best [pass] rushers. That's the only thing on my mind."

After a stellar start to his career in Jacksonville, where he earned 37.5 sacks in four seasons, Ngakoue has become a nomadic rusher for hire. He was traded to Minnesota in 2020, spending just six games with the Vikings before being shipped to Baltimore. He spent a season in Las Vegas and a year in Indy, where he performed well, generating 10 sacks and 9.5 sacks, respectively.

Ngakoue seemed to intimate that not signing his deal in Chicago until after training camp was half over partially led to his struggles with the Bears last season.

"I feel like everything's going to work out just perfectly," he said. "Like I said, everything happens for a reason. God is a perfect planner, and the end of the day, I'm just focused on myself, just focused on how can I get better, focusing on things that I could have done better last year. At the end of the day, I make no excuses. I just hope that I'm somewhere before training camp starts because everyone needs to go through a training camp in order to have the kind of season they want to have. It's just like a boxer at the end of the day. If you don't have a proper training camp, you can go into the ring and get knocked out. So it's all about preparation. The only thing that I'm worried about is being able to help an organization, help out the young guys and guys that are veterans as well to be able to get a Super Bowl ring and just bring great energy to that building wherever I'm at."

At this point, a landing spot for the 29-year-old pass rusher who might have lost a step could depend on how much he's willing to play for. Given his production and that he's coming off injury, another $10 million payday could be tough to find. On the flip side, the league always needs players who can disrupt the quarterback.

"Definitely have been in conversation with teams," he said. "When the perfect opportunity presents itself, everyone should know."

The question is whether we'll know before training camps or if a landing spot could open only after injury strikes.

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