Will Montez Sweat contract gamble pay off for the Commanders in 2023?

(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Montez Sweat
(Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports) Montez Sweat /

Montez Sweat is heading into the final year of his deal in 2023, but will this contract gamble pay off for the Washington Commanders?

The Washington Commanders have invested a significant amount of high-end draft capital on their defensive line in recent years. While that’s been a major asset, the problems could be mounting with contract decisions aplenty coming for the organization in this key area of the field.

Daron Payne got the franchise tag to prevent him from leaving in free agency. However, this is something players are becoming increasingly frustrated with and the defensive tackle wants long-term security before signing the deal, one suspects.

Washington deservedly gave Jonathan Allen a bumper payday and he is now among the team’s highest earners. Those in power have a huge call to make regarding Chase Young’s fifth-year option before competitive action arrives in 2023, which could go either way given his health concerns over the last two seasons.

Commanders have a big decision to make with Montez Sweat

If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the situation with Montez Sweat, who’s heading into the final year of his rookie deal that pays him a fully guaranteed $11.5 million next season.

Sweat has been a highly productive performer since entering the league. The Mississippi State product boasts all the tools normally associated with consistent NFL pass-rushers, which is reflected by 29 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, 74 quarterback hits, and 113 pressures over his four-year stint with the Commanders to date.

With no new deal on the immediate horizon, the Commanders are gambling heavily with one of their premier defensive linemen once again. The price went up significantly when Payne enjoyed a career year and if the same happens with Sweat in 2023, there might not be enough spare funds to keep him around.

Of course, the Commanders could franchise tag Sweat as they did with Payne. This provides additional time to work out a deal next spring and prevent the defensive end from exploring how much he could generate on the open market for good measure.

Even though this isn’t urgent right now, it’s a situation worth monitoring. Sweat is only just entering his prime and could put up exceptional numbers if Young stays healthy next season, which takes an untold amount of pressure off and would allow him more room to work along the way.

Good pass-rushers don’t grow on trees. Couple this with Sweat’s improved ability to set the edge against the run, and it’s not hard to see why Washington must do everything in their power to keep him happy.

Holding off comes with significant financial risk. It’s also worth remembering that the Commanders have $128.35 million available in 2024 with 31 players under contract, according to Over the Cap.

For now, Sweat remains an integral part of any success that comes Washington’s way on defense next season. All the player can do is maintain high standards on and off the field and everything else should take of itself.

As for the Commanders. they are playing with fire to a certain extent. Even if the rewards could be vast with extra motivation on Sweat’s shoulders when the regular season arrives.

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