Willie Young Proving To Be the Signature Move of the Phil Emery 2014 Off-Season

| October 14th, 2014


These were Phil Emery’s comments when the Bears signed Willie Young away from the Detroit Lions in March, courtesy of Chris Boden at CSN Chicago:

“Our thoughts about defensive players is to get the toughest, most aggressive, instinctive players that have a little bit of an old-school mentality, a ‘Bear’ mentality, and we certainly feel Willie has those attributes,” said Bears general manager Phil Emery. “(It’s) another positive step in improving our roster to the point where we can contend and win a championship.

“This was important for us to get a second defensive lineman, a quality starter, an opportunity for Willie to grow and for us to grow with him. When we went into free agency we thought if we could find a way to get two starting defensive linemen, we would’ve made forward progress.”

What do you think was the first comment listed below this post?

johns 213 days ago. Young might be Ok, but I would rather have Wooton
Turns out this johns character was quite wrong with his assessment of Phil Emery’s signature move of the 2014 offseason. Young is far from OK. To this point in the campaign he’s been the league’s most preeminent sack man. And Corey Wootton? Rumors have it he’s on the Minnesota Vikings.

It is hard to put into perspective just how remarkable this season has begun for Willie Young. His seven sacks are one more than he had in his entire career with the Detroit Lions and – with ten games remaining – equal the total of Julius Peppers sacks for the entirety of the 2013 season. And at only $3 million a year (which is less than Robbie Gould makes, folks) Young has become the NFL’s best value player not on his rookie contract.

Willie Youngs don’t happen often in the NFL, if at all. Players don’t become great pass rushers on their second contract, as they approach thirty, without serious pass rushing credentials in their earlier years. Just go through the available sack statistics on ESPN since 2002 and you’ll find that not a single player at the top of those tables wasn’t either (a) on his rookie deal or (b) on a lucrative second or third deal as the result of a brilliant rushing resume.

Yet here is Young. An NFL enigma. A late bloomer. In the era when most free agency signings do not play up to their contracts, Young is the rare coup for an NFL general manager. It is easy to identify the great players on the free agent market. It is near impossible to identify the soon-to-be great players. Phil Emery has found one, a player poised to earn the entirety of his three-year, $9 million contract in his first season as a Chicago Bear.

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