Bears extending Montez Sweat sets up easy offseason decision

By signing Montez Sweat to an extension, the Bears made it very clear what they're going to do with Jaylon Johnson in the offseason.

Defensive end Montez Sweat
Defensive end Montez Sweat / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears spent a second-round pick to acquire Montez Sweat but doing so looked like a risky move without an extension to keep him in Chicago beyond the 2023 season.

On Saturday, the Bears answered those concerns by coming to an agreement with Sweat on a four-year extension worth $98 million, according to Ian Rapoport.

The move will have a pretty sizable ripple effect for Chicago. Now, they can use their franchise tag on cornerback Jaylon Johnson.

Signing Montez Sweat frees up the Bears to tag Jaylon Johnson

Johnson requested a trade just before the deadline but he couldn't find a team to take him out of Chicago.

Signing Sweat to a big extension doesn't necessarily rid the Bears of all their problems though. Johnson had previously expressed disappointment over the idea that Sweat would get an extension before him.

Well, Sweat got his extension and Johnson is likely heading towards a franchise tag. The cornerback would make upwards of $19 million on the tag. Jacob Infante projected that the Bears have enough salary cap to sign Johnson to a longer deal making an average of $18 million per year.

So the Bears can have the best of both worlds with the defensive lineman and the cornerback, but they've got to work out a deal with the latter first. We'll see how it all plays out when the season is done.

Johnson, who was a second-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft out of Utah, is in his fourth season with the Bears. He has two interceptions, four pass defenses and a forced fumble this season. Pro Football Focus rates him as the sixth-best cornerback in the league with the fourth-best coverage grade.

Sweat was a first-round pick for the Commanders in 2019. He had eight sacks last season and already had 6.5 this year to go along with 10 tackles for loss and 11 QB hits. But in the last year of his deal with Washington, the Commanders decided to deal him while they focus on a rebuild.

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