The Montez Sweat trade for the Bears opened up a new discourse hours after that trade.
Why not Chase Young?
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If you're like me, you definitely wondered why the Bears paid a pretty penny for Sweat while the 49ers got away with Young for much less. The Bears traded a second-round pick --- which will likely end pinned up against the first round --- while the 49ers gave up a conditional third-rounder for Young, which is closer to a fourth-round pick.
Young, 24, is also three years younger than Sweat, 27, and arguably a better pass rusher. According to NextGenStats, Young ranks fifth in quarterback pressures this season, topping Sweat.
NBC's Peter King characterized Young as a "rental" for the 49ers on 670 The Score, considering Young's rookie contract expires after this season. The 49ers are projected to have around $1.4 million in cap space this offseason, according to Over The Cap.
However, Jacob Camenker from Sporting News asserts the 49ers can make cap room to squeeze Young into the roster. It would take some tricks and maneuvers to make it happen, including cutting Randy Gregory and restructuring several high-end contracts. But it's not impossible.
Again, why not Young for the Bears?
King puts the reasoning into a two-pronged school of thought.
"Even though Chase Young has been slightly disappointing, Chase Young is going to earn, maybe not significantly more, but more in his second contract in the NFL than Montez Sweat would," King said. "And the other part of this that plays into it is if you're going to make a trade for a pass rusher and you're gonna trade a two (second-round pick) for him, you are almost guaranteeing your ownership. You have to feel very good that this guy's gonna sign a more reasonable deal than Chase Young will sign for and we're gonna be able to get it."
This will be something to monitor on both sides for the Bears.
How much will each Young and Sweat respectively sign for?
Remember, Young's extension won't come immediately. Camenker described Young's season with the 49ers intelligently as an "audition." That's a fair term for Young, who missed the majority of the 2021 and 2022 seasons with a knee injury that's hampered his career; another reason the Bears may have been more interested in Sweat.
However, Young dutifully put his career back on track this season. He has five sacks through seven games and a top-five slot in quarterback pressures.
But before asking how much Sweat will sign for, the Bears must ask themselves, can they sign him?
Ryan Poles risked failure when not agreeing to an extension with Sweat before trading for him. It makes sense, considering multiple teams were in on Sweat ahead of the trade deadline. But still, if they don't get a deal done with Sweat, it'll be a colossal failure. They would be giving up a second-round pick for 10 games from Sweat.
"I thought the Bears made an interesting move with Montez Sweat," King said. "He's a good player. And to me, if I were Ryan Poles, I would hope that I had a very good chance to get a deal done for Montez Sweat. That's gonna be essential."
Bottom line: the jury is still out on the promise of this trade. But if the Bears can't agree to a long-term deal, or Young gets a cheaper deal than Sweat from the 49ers, this trade should be chalked up as a loss.