New Chicago Bears EDGE rusher Montez Sweat met with reporters on Wednesday, just hours after his surprise trade from the Washington Commanders. Sweat spent most of his time addressing his future. He noted that he’s never been one to worry about leverage or other things of that nature.
Sweat instead left the financial part of things up to his agent. He also acknowledged that he is weighing the other factors of his future, though. But just what kind of player are the Bears getting in his own words?
“I think I’m a very strong, hardworking, tenacious player who just really wants to get better every day,” Sweat said. “I know I still got a long way to go but, yeah, I’m happy with the player I am.”
Bears’ Montez Sweat a ‘Strong, Hardworking, Tenacious’ Player
Montez Sweat: Justin Fields a ‘Challenging Player’
Having faced the Bears in Week 5, he also gave his thoughts on quarterback Justin Fields.
“I mean he’s a dynamic quarterback,” Sweat said. “Guy that can move on the run. Getting a lot of those guys that can run and pass, so that’s always a dynamic piece. But, yeah, he’s a challenging player.
Sweat arrives with 35.5 career sacks, 6.5 coming in eight games this season (1.5 in Week 5). He has made a total of 67 out of 73 possible starts since the Commanders selected him with the No. 26 overall pick in 2019. That durability, along with his versatility, made him an attractive target for the Bears. They rank last in the league with 10 sacks on the season.
— NFL (@NFL) October 6, 2023
Chicago also popped up in rumors linking them to Chase Young in a potential trade in the days before acquiring Sweat.
“We talk all the time about different things of sorts,” Sweat said of conversations with Young in the days leading up to the trade deadline as rumors swirled. “I mean we probably put a lot of scenarios out there.”
Bears general manager Ryan Poles said the Bears were unsure of Sweat’s availability.
“I’ll be honest, we really didn’t think Tez was available for a while,” Poles said when asked why he paid a higher price for Sweat as opposed to acquiring Young. “So that door was kind of closed and it was going to be kind of quiet, and then it popped back up in the last couple hours.”
Sweat is one year older than Young. Some also believe him to be the “lesser” player of the two now-former Commanders (the San Francisco 49ers acquired Young for a third-round pick).
But Sweat has also been the more durable and, therefore, productive player of the two.
— Clocker Sports (@ClockerSports) November 1, 2023
Both players come with risk, not the least of which is their pending free agency after this season. Poles acknowledged that risk. He added that they felt positively in their ability to re-sign him adding they were trying to work a long-term deal out “now”.
The Bears also have the franchise tag at their disposal if they cannot come to terms with Sweat on a new deal.
Where that might leave cornerback Jaylon Johnson – who noted that he would have felt some type of way about Sweat getting an extension along with the trade – is still unclear. But Poles did say he doesn’t want to lose Johnson.
Matt Eberflus Not Feeling Additional Pressure After Sweat Trade
The Bears acquired wide receiver DJ Moore this offseason, and it many believed it to be another piece in evaluating quarterback Justin Fields. That could understandably put additional pressure on the young quarterback or any player in that situation.
But Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said he doesn’t feel any additional pressure. Even after the organization added another (soon-to-be high-priced) addition to a maligned defensive front.
“No, I’m excited about that. I mean that. Getting Montez Sweat is awesome,” Eberflus said. “We get an outside pass rusher that’s long, that’s lean, has production, and we’re certainly excited about that. And everybody in the building is excited about it. You can feel the buzz in there when I introduced him today to the team.
“He’s got to do the physical, he wasn’t at the team meeting. But introduced him there, and I know the guys are following it close. But, yeah, we’re certainly excited about that, not only on defense but the entire football team.”
If this trade works out, the Bears should win more games.
That would essentially take the control out of landing one of the top two picks – and the rights to draft either USC’s Caleb Williams or North Carolina’s Drake Maye – out of their hands.
Khalil Mack on Bears QB Tyson Bagent: "You could tell the clock in his head was running today. He was getting the ball out pretty quick. He did some good things for them down the stretch. I know he's going to be a special player, but I'm glad No. 1 wasn't out there tonight."
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) October 30, 2023
They still have the Carolina Panthers 2024 first-round pick at their disposal. The Panthers have just one win on the season. The Bears’ best chance was to continue to lose games this season. But adding Sweat – and retaining Johnson – suggests that is not in the plans. Still, Poles declined to say if it meant they were comfortable with their situation at quarterback.
“I would say, in general, our philosophy is just continue to add really good football players to this roster so that we can win football games,” Poles said, leaving open both the possibility that one of Justin Fields or Tyson Bagent (or someone else) to be under center for next season.