LAKE FOREST, Ill. — One year after trading a second-round pick for wide receiver Chase Claypool, Bears general manager Ryan Bowles got aggressive again Tuesday when he traded Chicago’s 2024 second-round pick to the Washington Chiefs for edge rusher Montez Sweat.
Sweat, 27, is serving out the final year of his contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season. Poles swung for the fences again because, in his view, getting a sweat on now is the Bears’ best chance to address their pass rush. After evaluating the upcoming free agent class, which Sweat was ticketed to be a part of, and the draft class, Poles paid the tax to bring Sweat to Chicago.
“In terms of our operation, this is a situation where you are trying to predict the future,” Poles said Wednesday at Halas Hall. “You look at the draft potential — our guys did a really good job of getting information — as well as free agency. We felt like this was a really good opportunity to move forward with that and get a quick pass in the building.” And again, this is short-term but Also in the long term. “We are currently working on completing the contract now.”
The Bears could have waited until free agency to try to sign Sweat without giving up what is projected to be the 35th overall pick in the 2024 draft. But the Poles see value in getting Sweat in the building rather than waiting and hoping Sweat doesn’t get tagged, and he arrives. To the market, picking bears on what is likely to be a strong market.
“I think it benefits now because you start losing opportunities,” Polish said of why he wanted to trade for Sweet now. “It’s really hard to see….If you look at the free agent pool now, it’s going to look completely different by the time you get to that point in the year because there are so many different opportunities that could arise in terms of extensions and tags and different things like that. So we decided with that type of player we wanted to take advantage of that now.
Sweat wasn’t the only one traded on Tuesday, as Washington also shipped Chase Young to the San Francisco 49ers for a third-round pick. There were rumors of the Bears being interested in Young, but it seemed like Sweat was the only player they wanted to acquire, and they weren’t sure he would be traded by the deadline.
“I’ll be honest: I didn’t really think Tez was available for a while,” the Bulls said of potentially selecting Sweat over Young. “So that door was kind of closed, and it was going to be kind of quiet and then it was locked.” “It appeared again in the last two hours.”
It’s been two years in a row that the Poles have taken a second-round pick in a trade deadline deal. The Bears general manager says he learned from the Claypool trade but won’t let this mistake stop him from pursuing a deal to move Sweat to Chicago.
“It’s one of those things that I try to take a lot of pride in, you look at the things you do, and if you fail or make mistakes, you look at why and address it,” Bowles said. I think the key is that sometimes you get a little shy about making aggressive moves as you go along. This is not how we communicate. I took a lot of those things from that situation and went through that process and said, “Okay, this is where we probably messed this up.” Then for this one, he doesn’t make the same mistake.
Sweat reached out Wednesday and said he’s not thinking about a long-term future in Chicago. The Mississippi State product said he wants “security” but will take everything into consideration before deciding on a long-term home.
The Poles said that work has already begun to complete the extension.
“It’s hard to put a timeline on it, but I hope it won’t take too long. I feel really confident that we can reach an agreement,” Bowles said.
The Bears could pick up the franchise tag or move on Sweat if they can’t get a long-term extension by March.
But the Poles made a deal to make Swett part of the foundation of this rebuilding process. He paid a large tax for the exclusive right to negotiate with Sweat, believing that this was the best way to ensure that the top-level rusher, whom the GM called “The Double,” would be the bear.
The deal was reached quickly, as the Poles believed the high price was worth it for a player of Sweat’s caliber. He believes someone can help the Bears immediately and be a building block in their rebuilding. But there is work to be done to make this sequel a reality.
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