The Bears have agreed to a trade to bolster their pass rush. A source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago that the team acquired defensive end Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders in exchange for a second-round pick.
Sweat is one of the premier pass rushers in the game and will help the Bears defensive line, which has struggled to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Sweat has 6.5 sacks, 10 TFLs and has forced two fumbles this season. Meanwhile, every defensive line player on the Bears has combined for 6.5 sacks, 21 TFLs and one forced fumble this year. Yannick Ngakoue leads the group with two sacks.
Sweat is playing in his fifth NFL season now and has 35.5 career sacks, 47 TFLs and nine forced fumbles. At times Sweat benefited from rushing opposite the uber-talented DE Chase Young. However, when Young has missed time due to injury, Sweat has still produced at a high level. There's no reason to believe Sweat won't be able to maintain that production working opposite Ngakoue now.
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Defensive end was a position of need heading into this season since the Bears ranked last in the NFL with 20 sacks in 2022. GM Ryan Poles tried to address the issue by signing Ngakoue, DeMarcus Walker and Rasheem Green over the offseason, but it wasn't enough to make progress. After eight games the Bears rank dead last in the NFL again, with 10 sacks. That includes all the teams who have already had their bye weeks and have only played seven games. Acquiring Sweat now is an emphatic move to bolster the unit.
Sweat is playing on the last year of his rookie contract right now- the Commanders picked up his fifth-year option back in 2022- so if the Bears want to keep him around long term, they'll have to sign him to a new deal. Since Sweat was set to hit the open market after this season trading for him now sends a message that the team is trying to win now, not tank for a higher draft pick. It also could give Poles a leg up on reaching a long-term deal with Sweat. The Bears will now have a chance to offer him a contract extension before he becomes a free agent.
According to Spotrac, the Bears have $95.7 million dollars in cap space in 2024, which is the most in the league.
Poles is no stranger to splashy deadline moves. Last season, he made several franchise-altering trades including the decision to send Roquan Smith to the Ravens in exchange for a second-round pick and the decision to acquire Chase Claypool from the Steelers in exchange for a second-round pick.
The trade deadline ends at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.