We've got our first big trade ahead of the NFL's 4 p.m. deadline. The Washington Commanders are sending defensive end Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick, as confirmed by CBS Sports Lead NFL Insider Jonathan Jones.
Sweat, 27, is in the middle of the final year of his rookie contract. The former first-round pick is enjoying his best start to a season so far. The fifth-year veteran currently has 6.5 sacks, 32 tackles that includes 10 tackles for loss through eight games. For his career, the former first-round pick has 35.5 career sacks, 197 tackles, 47 tackles for loss, nine forced fumbles and an interception.
Chicago continues to be in the middle of a rebuild that now includes Sweat. While no rebuild is easy, the Bears are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL this offseason at $110 million.
So, who won the trade? Let's find out.
Give Washington a lot of credit for getting a second-round pick for a player who is only signed through this season. If Sweat was not going to be re-signed, it makes all the sense in the world to trade him now while getting something in return. Washington did that in spades with what would be the 35th overall pick if the season ended today.
The Commanders lost a really good player in Sweat, so that's why they didn't get a perfect score. But the fact that they have a productive player ready to replace Sweat in the starting lineup largely makes up for losing Sweat. Casey Toohill, who will replace Sweat in the starting lineup, already has four sacks this season.
This acquisition doesn't make a ton of sense. As noted above, Sweat is slated to enter free agency, so the Bears could have waited until the offseason to try to sign him. But instead of bidding for his services, the Bears decided to be proactive while acquiring him now.
Sweat can still leave in free agency, but the Bears must feel good about their chances to re-sign him. How things go for the remainder of the 2023 season will undoubtedly help determine whether or not Sweat stays or goes.
This is the second big trade the Bears have made on deadline day in as many years. It's safe to say the Bears flunked the trade for wideout Chase Claypool -- who's now with the Dolphins -- that cost them the 32nd pick in the draft. This trade isn't great, but it's nowhere in the vicinity of the Claypool deal. While Claypool was and still is a player who has yet to realize his potential, Sweat is an accomplished veteran who looks to just be entering his prime years.