No need to worry, Chicago Bears fans, general manager Ryan Poles got his man. After trading for pass rusher Montez Sweat, and giving up a valuable second-round pick, there were questions about the deal. Montez was in the final season of his rookie deal. There were many who did not have faith that Poles could sign Sweat to an extension. If that happened, it would be a major catastrophe.
Poles also traded a second-round pick last year for wide receiver Chase Claypool. That deal blew up in his face as Claypool did just enough to avoid doing nothing in Chicago. The Bears ended up trading him and a seventh-round pick to Miami a few weeks ago for a sixth-round pick. Losing another second-round pick on a failed player in consecutive seasons would be a very bad look.
The Chicago Bears and Montez Sweat agree to a contract extension.
Poles got the deal with Sweat done, however. He and Sweat agreed to a four-year, $98 million ($105 with bonus), with $72.865 million guaranteed. That relieved a lot of people. Considering that Sweat had leverage in negotiations, the deal is a pretty good one for both sides. Poles could not afford to let Sweat get away. The deal was a win-win for both parties.
Sweat automatically becomes the Bears' best pass rushers. The team ranked last in sacks last season and is there again this season. Sweat was the Washington Commanders' first-round pick in 2019. In his career, he has 35.5 sacks, 85 quarterback hits, and 9 forced fumbles, This season, he has 6.5 sacks. To illustrate how badly the Bears needed him, his sack total is just 3.5 sacks fewer than the entire Chicago Bears team combined.
The defense has made improvements after starting out slowly. After giving up 34.2 points per game in the first four games, the defense has allowed just an average of 20.2 per game, which includes a 30-point barrage by the Los Angeles Chargers. Additionally, after ranking 31st in rushing yards and last in rushing touchdowns allowed, the Bears now rank 3rd and 6th, respectively.
All that is tempered by the lack of pass rush, tough. The Bears just cannot get to the quarterback, who has all day to stand in the pocket to find receivers. Without pressuring the quarterback, the secondary is asked to stay with their receivers for an inordinate period of time. Poles brought in DeMarcus Walker and Yannick Ngakoue, but they haven't been able to change things. They have 3.5 sacks combined this season.
Hopefully, Sweat can start to change that. If he can put pressure on the quarterback perhaps it opens things up for the other pass rushers. Also, it could help the interior of the line. Someone like Gervon Dexter, who is progressively getting better each week, could use his strength, quickness, and athleticism to get into the backfield more.
Very good to elite pass rushers are difficult to find via free agency. When teams have good ones they usually want to keep them. That was likely why Poles pulled the trigger on the deal. With Washington tearing things down to rebuild, they made not only Sweat but their other good pass rusher, Chase Young. Poles decided to jump on the chance at Sweat, then re-signed him so he could stay in Chicago for the foreseeable future.
Now we will find out if Sweat is the answer. At the price tag, the Bears got him at, he needs to be so this defense can take the step to be a complete unit.