The Bears agreed to a two-year contract extension with outside linebacker Willie Young, the team announced on Saturday.
Young has stated that he desires to play the rest of his career with the Bears, and the contract extension will keep the 30-year-old with the team through the 2018 season.
After playing his first four seasons with the NFC North rival Detroit Lions, Young was signed by former Bears general manager Phil Emery in 2014 to play 4-3 defensive end. Young had a career-high 10 sacks that year before the Bears fired Emery and head coach Marc Trestman.
When John Fox was hired and he brought in Vic Fangio to coach the defense, the Bears switched to a 3-4 base defense, leaving Young’s future with the team in doubt. But Young proved that good pass rushing can come from any front as he tallied 6.5 sacks in a rotational role.
Current GM Ryan Pace noted how important it was to have a wave of pass rushers, which is why he traded up in the first round of April’s draft to draft Leonard Floyd and now placed an emphasis on keeping the veteran Young in the fold.