Montez Sweat

ESPN analyst rips Bears for Montez Sweat trade

ESPN graded the Bears for their moves at the 2023 NFL trade deadline

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Ryan Poles made a splashy trade deadline deal for the second straight year, and at least one outlet has questions, comments and concerns about what it means for the direction of the team.

On Tuesday, the Chicago Bears acquired defensive end Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders in exchange for a second-round pick.

While the move checks a massive box for the Bears, ESPN's Seth Walder called "devoting major draft capital to improving a bad, noncontending team" an "egregious decision" by Poles.

 "Sweat's value this season is worthless to Chicago, and yet the Bears paid handsomely for it anyway," Walder said.

Walder pointed out that the second-round pick the Bears gave up will likely be an early-rounder, with ESPN's Football Power Index currently projecting the Bears to have a 47% chance at drafting in the top five in the first round, and an 82% chance of picking in the top 10.

Adding an elite edge rusher to bolster the NFL's worst pass rush was a much-needed play by the Bears, but Walder implies that Sweat's effectiveness wasn't worth giving up resources that could improve their chances of building for the future.

"While he's having a strong sack season, Sweat has never produced double-digit sacks," he said. "And while the sacks are there for Sweat this season, his pass rush win rate — which evaluates him on far more plays than just the handful that result in QB takedowns — is way down. He has just an 8% pass rush win rate at edge this season, which ranks 52nd. He has had higher win rates than that in the past —it was 14% in 2022 — but he has never exceeded 18% (in 2020), which is only a shade above average for an edge rusher. Sweat is also already 27 years old, meaning there's a good chance he's at his peak and not still ascending toward it."

Overall, ESPN graded the trade a D-.

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