Kmet: Preliminary contracts talks started with Bears


As the Bears gear up for free agency and the NFL draft over the next couple of months, they’ll begin building the new foundation of their franchise in earnest. Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus added some pieces to fit their vision of the team last season, but 2022 felt more about tearing things down so that they could build back up again this year. Part of that included assessing players leftover from the Ryan Pace/Matt Nagy years who could fit in with the new regime, and one player who seems to have earned his spot moving forward is Cole Kmet.

Poles and Eberflus both spoke glowingly about Kmet and his growth both as a blocking and playmaking tight end. But Kmet will be playing on the last year of his rookie deal in 2023, and will need a contract extension if the Bears want him to stay beyond this year. NBC Chicago’s Mike Berman caught up with Kmet on Wednesday, and Kmet told him that preliminary discussions have already begun between his camp and the Bears.

“Just little talks here and there,” Kmet told NBC Chicago. “They’ve got a lot to get done, obviously with the draft, free agency, all those things. Really wouldn’t expect much to happen, maybe until summer, really until after free agency settles and the draft, so we’ll see where it goes.”

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In a perfect world, Kmet would like to have a deal in place sometime before the regular season starts, but he understands things may not play out that way and will see where negotiations go. He will be patient, but reiterated that in the end he wants to stick with the Bears.

“Obviously, from Chicago, would love to be here and all that stuff, but it’s a business side as well, so we’ll take care of that, see what happens. Not rushing anything. Obviously would love to be a Chicago Bear and win a Super Bowl here. That’s my ultimate dream and goal.”

Kmet admitted this part of the NFL is a bit of a weird experience for him, since it’s his first time going through contract negotiations.

“You kind of have to play the business aspect of it. You really have to. I think coming out, obviously, the draft, there’s really no negotiation going on. You get picked, slotted, that’s just kind of where it is, and you just go play. So now the business side really enters, and that’s the first time ever for me. You’ve got to talk about money and all these things in terms of playing football.

“I’ve always just associated football with just going out and having fun, and I want to keep it that way. I know my representation will do a good job of handling that business side, and for me, I love playing football and I want to keep doing it, and I want to keep doing it here in Chicago.”

The Bears drafted Kmet in the second round of the 2020 draft and it took him a bit to produce on the field. Over Kmet’s first two seasons, he caught 88 balls for 855 yards and two touchdowns. He enjoyed a breakout season of sorts in 2022, especially in the endzone, when he caught 50 passes for 544 yards and seven touchdowns.

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