Bears continue pass-rush rebuild, release OLB Willie Young

SHARE Bears continue pass-rush rebuild, release OLB Willie Young

The Bears cut outside linebacker Willie Young. (AP)

INDIANAPOLIS — The Bears cut their second veteran outside linebacker in three days Wednesday, releasing Willie Young after four seasons and clearing $4.5 million in salary-cap space.

First signed by then-general manager Phil Emery before the 2014 season, Young received a contract extension from GM Ryan Pace during training camp in 2016. He played in all 16 games that season, notching 7½ sacks, but was limited to four games last season before going on injured reserve with a triceps injury.

Young will turn 33 in September. Pernell McPhee, who was cut Monday, turned 29 in December. New coach Matt Nagy said the moves weren’t part of a mandate to get younger.

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‘‘It’s part of the process for us, for Ryan and myself and the coaching staff, to just formulate, ‘OK, what’s the direction that we want to go, and how do we want to do this?’ ’’ Nagy said at the NFL Scouting Combine. ‘‘For us, it just so happens to be a few guys that are higher in age. It has nothing to do with that direction, per se.’’

Pace said it was ‘‘good to kind of have some fresh eyes and new looks and evaluate the roster.’’

Young’s departure leaves 2016 first-round pick Leonard Floyd as the Bears’ last relevant pass-rusher. His rehab from surgery on the sprained medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee ‘‘couldn’t be going better,’’ Pace said.

The Bears figure to add pass rushers via free agency and the draft.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.


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