The Bears sent a second-round pick on Tuesday to Washington to secure Sweat, who is expected to play Sunday against the Saints. The new deal makes Sweat the fifth-highest-paid pass rusher in the league in terms of average annual value at $24.5 million per year, slotting him just below Myles Garrett at $25 million.
The Bears were anticipating a lean pass-rusher market come free agency. Earlier in the week, the Packers locked Rashan Gary into a long-term extension, and league sources figure after the Panthers haven’t dealt Brian Burns ahead of two trade deadlines that they will franchise tag him at the very least next year. And next year’s draft class isn’t projected to have many game-changer rushers at the top.
The trade deadline was the best opportunity to find that player, even if it meant paying a little more in draft compensation today over paying more in salary in March.
The Bears have needed pass-rush help since the offseason, and Sweat appears to be in the early prime of his career at 27 years old.
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The Commanders had offers from the Falcons and Bears on Tuesday morning, sources told CBS Sports. The Falcons originally had a third-round pick on the table that would convert to a second if the team could reach an extension with Sweat. The Falcons then upped the offer to remove the condition, offering a straight-up second-round pick for Sweat.
It’s believed Sweat, a Georgia native with family throughout the Atlanta area, had originally preferred to go to the Falcons, which had done work on what a contract extension would look like for Sweat.
With two second-round picks on the table, the Commanders went with Chicago’s offer. Sweat was dealt to the Bears, who got to work immediately on a deal.
The Bears will now need to work on securing cornerback Jaylon Johnson for the long term. Chicago fielded offers from the Bills, among others, this past week for Johnson, who requested a trade just before the deadline. With Sweat secured with an extension, the Bears could use the franchise tag on Johnson if a deal can’t be reached by March.