Written by Jeff Howe, Kevin Fishbein and Adam Gans
The Chicago Bears and newly acquired Montez Sweat have agreed to a four-year extension worth $98 million in new money, a league source confirmed Saturday. Here’s what you need to know:
- The source confirmed that Sweat, 27, will receive $72.87 million guaranteed as part of the total deal worth $105 million. NFL Network first reported the contract details.
- The Washington Chiefs dealt Sweat, in the final year of his rookie contract, to the Bears at the trade deadline earlier this week in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick.
- Sweat totaled 6 1/2 sacks this season for Washington. He totaled 35 1/2 sacks in 67 games in his four seasons with the Commanders.
What does getting the deal done mean for Chicago?
General manager Ryan Bowles dispelled any fears that he wouldn’t be able to sign his rookie, despite paying a second-round pick for Sweat. Doing so prevents the Bears from the worst-case scenario, which is Sweat being rented, and leaves the franchise tag open for the team to use on cornerback Jaylon Johnson, if they so choose. By agreeing to the terms so quickly, it also eliminates any distractions for both sides. The average salary of $24.5 million ranks fifth in the NFL behind the Bosa brothers, TJ Watt and Myles Garrett, and ahead of the Green Bay Packers’ Rashaan Gary, who signed his new contract last week.
The Bears have identified Sweat as a “multiplier,” Boles said, adding, “It will allow everyone to play better, our entire defensive front, our corners, our insurances.” The defense desperately needs that, this year and in the future, and the Bears are paying big money for it. They believe Sweat has the field capabilities and intangible assets worth investing in. Now he’ll have to live up to it, and it starts Sunday in his first game for the Bears against the New Orleans Saints. — Kevin Fishbein, Bears staff writer
What’s next for the Bears?
The Bears want Johnson to be part of their long-term future as well. And they have plenty of salary cap space to make that happen.
But earlier this week, Johnson said he would be upset if Sweat agreed to a new contract with the Bears before then. He’s been here longer after being drafted in the second round in 2020, and is playing like one of the best players at his position this season.
Poles said he believed he was close to re-signing Johnson before the trade deadline but Johnson later requested a trade. But the Bears never wanted to trade Johnson.
“We are still open to completing the contract,” the Poles said on Wednesday. “I know we will follow Jaylon’s lead on how he wants to do it but we remain open.”
It helps that Johnson said he would like to sign with the Bears long-term. But then, Sweat’s new deal was made before his contract. The franchise tag now looms as a potential option for Johnson if an agreement cannot be reached. — Adam Janz is a senior writer at Bears
(Photo: Eric Hartline/USA Today)
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