The Bears are adding some much-needed pass-rushing help ahead of the NFL trade deadline.
Chicago is acquiring standout defensive end Montez Sweat from Washington for a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, according to multiple reports.
The Bears hope that Sweat will help fix their problems getting to the opposing team’s quarterback this season. The 27-year-old is on pace to set a new career-high in sacks this season, already recording 6.5 sacks through eight games, putting him on track to record 14 sacks on the year. He has recorded at least seven sacks in each of his first four seasons in the league, including a career-high nine in 2020.
Sweat would lead the Bears in sacks by far this season. No other player on their roster has recorded more than two, and their 10 sacks as a team are the fewest in the league, trailing the second-lowest team by five sacks.
While the Commanders traded one of their top players over the past few seasons, they’re potentially getting some premium draft capital for a player whose contract expires at season’s end. Following Week 8, the Bears’ second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft would be the No. 35 overall pick as 2-6 Chicago hasn’t made much progress from its league-worst 3-14 record in 2022.
Sweat isn’t the only player on an expiring deal that the Commanders have been rumored to potentially move ahead of Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. Defensive end Chase Young will also be a free agent this offseason after the Commanders declined the fifth-year option for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Young has five sacks so far this year after his initial struggles coming back from a torn ACL he suffered in 2021. Running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver Curtis Samuel are also on expiring contracts and have been rumored to be on the block.
This also marks the second straight trade deadline that Bears general manager Ryan Poles has dealt his team’s second-round pick in the following draft for a veteran. Last October, the Bears traded for then-Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool. That move didn’t work out, as Chicago surrendered what became the top pick in the second round for a receiver who recorded just 18 catches in 10 games. The Bears traded Claypool to the Dolphins for a swap of late-round picks earlier in October.
The Bears obviously want a different outcome this year with their major trade deadline acquisition. Despite their losing record, Chicago sits just two games out of a playoff spot after Week 8 and has the league’s 10th-easiest remaining strength of schedule.
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