Trading stud defensive end Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears was a necessary evil for the Washington Commanders as their plans for the future start now.
After months of speculation, the Washington Commanders finally traded one of their premier defensive ends. While many thought it might be Chase Young before the campaign, recent buzz suggested that the market was dictating otherwise.
As it turned out, that proved to be the case. Multiple reports confirmed that the Commanders had struck a deal with the Chicago Bears for Sweat - a second-round selection that stands at No. 35 overall currently.
Commanders signal future planning with Montez Sweat trade
This was no doubt disappointing to those who've marveled at Sweat's production since he arrived in Washington as a first-round pick out of Mississippi State. He's been ultra-consistent in recent years, producing the goods on the field and also emerging as a genuine leader within the locker room for good measure.
Want further proof? Sweat's career statistics speak for themselves.
- 67 games
- 197 tackles
- 35.5 sacks
- 47 tackles for loss
- 85 quarterback hits
- 9 forced fumbles
- 11 passes defended
- 1 interception (returned for TD)
This was a business decision and a sign that Josh Harris' new ownership group is building for the future now. They could ill afford losing Sweat or Young for nothing next spring and luckily for them, there was supposedly a bidding war for the pass-rusher's services.
Want to know why the Commanders got such a high-end pick for Sweat aside from his exceptional talent? The Atlanta Falcons were also coveting the player heavily and Bears general manager Ryan Poles did what needed to be done to get his guy despite his current contract status.
Fans get so wrapped up in the football side of things that it's easy to forget that the NFL is a business above all else. One could make a case those in power should have extended Sweat sooner when the money was more manageable, but that's not in keeping with Ron Rivera's method of rewarding his top performers.
Waiting until the last minute backed the Commanders into a corner with their defensive end tandem. With Young playing so well upon his return, it was almost impossible to keep both.
Extracting maximum value - which this appears to be if the Bears keep struggling - is more important right now than any staffing changes. Having additional draft assets makes the Commanders' head coaching and general manager positions more appealing, so it's a nice cushion to have if Harris does bring in substantial alterations as expected.
Sweat will be remembered with great fondness in Washington. While their lauded all-first-round defensive front could only muster two prolific campaigns together, that does not detract from what an outstanding contributor he's been over a consistent period of time.
Next up for Sweat is working out a megabucks extension with the Bears, which they have the cap space to sort out immediately. As for the Commanders, they'll be relying on the likes of Casey Toohill, K.J. Henry, and Efe Obada to fill the gaping hole left by one of their top defensive performers.
Trading Sweat was a necessary evil. Some won't like it, but very few NFL personnel decisions receive widespread approval.