Courtney Cronin and John Keim4 minutes of reading
The 27-year-old Sweatt is in the final year of his contract, and the Chiefs are now opting for a draft pick over the compensatory pick they could get if Sweatt signs as a free agent elsewhere next year.
News of the trade comes hours after sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that the Bears have cleared cornerback Jaylen Johnson to be traded. Johnson, 24, is in the final year of his rookie deal and said he was looking for “respect and security” in the form of a new deal.
The trade gives talent to Chicago’s league-worst pass rush halfway through the season. The Bears replaced three of their four starters on the defensive line ahead of the 2023 season in free agency and spent second- and third-round draft picks on defensive tackles Kervon Dexter Sr. and Zach Pickens. The Bears have an NFL-low 10 sacks and 46 pressures this season, which ranks 30th.
Through eight games, Swett has 6.5 sacks, bringing his career total to 35.5 over five seasons.
Chicago’s 2024 second-round pick is currently ranked 35th in the draft. At the 2022 trade deadline, the Bears sent their own second-round pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for wide receiver Chase Claypool, who played 10 games in Chicago. After defeating Washington in Week 5, the Bears dealt Claypool to the Miami Dolphins.
For the commanders, the move is a nod to their losing record and the difficulty of keeping their defensive line intact. Sweat and defensive end Chase Young are both free agents after this season. Washington has already offered big contracts to defensive tackles Darren Payne and Jonathan Allen over the past two seasons.
Washington expressed interest in extending Sweat in the offseason, but with the franchise situation in flux — Josh Harris doesn’t take over until late July — negotiations haven’t developed. The generals have also said they will reward Young if he has a productive season.
With Washington confident about quarterback Sam Howell, that could leave the team with a cheap quarterback for the next two seasons. That would have left available cap space for both Sweat and Young, but it could have left the Chiefs with an unbalanced payroll — overinvested on the defensive line and thin elsewhere.
Had Washington extended Sweat and applied the franchise tag on Young, three defensive linemen would have been valued at more than $20 million next season — and one offensive lineman at more than $10 million.
A high cost lineup doesn’t lead to creative play by the defense. Washington is sixth in the league with 25 sacks, but the Commanders are 23rd in pass rush success rate. Among defensive players, Young ranks fifth in this area — but none of his linemates are in the top 55.
Washington drafted Sweat with the 27th pick in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, a pick acquired when the team traded back in the first round.
Sweat was an immediate full-time starter, and while he’s yet to finish with more than nine sacks in a season, it’s paying off. According to ESPN Stats and Information Research, Sweat is one of seven players with at least five sacks in the past five seasons (since 2019), along with Chris Jones, Myles Garrett, DJ Watt, Khalil Mack, Max Crosby and Brian Burns. .
He is considered a strong run defender and is durable. Sweat missed seven games in 2021 with a broken jaw, sat out one game because of Covid and two more after his brother was shot and killed. But Sweatt never missed a game in his other four seasons.