As Bad As The Chase Claypool Trade Was, The Chicago Bears Totally Nailed It With Montez Sweat

Montez Sweat Bears
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It’s fascinating to see the discourse around any professional sports team when they’re in the process of trying to turn around a failed, losing culture. The Chicago Bears have been in No Man’s Land for a long time, and that might even be a compliment to their generally antiquated football operation. Their best hope at a franchise quarterback before Justin Fields was Jay Cutler. They feel stuck in the Dark Ages and, specifically, longing for the days of their 1985, Super Bowl-winning defense.

Not gonna lie, I thought Matt Eberflus should’ve been fired on the spot for his bumbling idiocy at the podium several weeks back when discussing Fields’ medical status. HOWEVER, since GM Ryan Pace traded away a second-round pick for ex-Commanders pass-rusher Montez Sweat before the NFL trade deadline, you could say the ‘Flus is indeed loose in the Windy City. The Bears’ defense is suddenly legit.

Look at those numbers! And now, Sweat is out here endorsing Eberflus as a coach while dumping on how much of a dumpster fire the Commanders continue to be:

The prevailing notion at the time of the Sweat trade went something like this: “Remember the LAST TIME the Bears traded a second-round pick for a player in-season? It was Chase Claypool. Look how terribly that turned out! And Sweat might not even re-sign with the team! What are they thinking!?

Obviously hindsight is 20-20. Claypool was an unmitigated disaster for Chicago. The pick the Bears gave up for the troubled ex-Steelers wide receiver — he’s now in Miami — turned into stud rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr.

How can you not give Pace a ton of credit for putting his nuts on the table and pulling the trigger on this Sweat deal, given how badly Claypool burned him? Public perception was so against this Bears regime. The outside noise can most definitely influence a front office or an owner to cave and make wholesale changes.

I’m not saying the Bears are fully “back” but it’s wild how, just because Claypool didn’t work out, everyone and their mom immediately wrote off the Sweat trade as a stupid move. This wasn’t just fans. This was, qualified or not, ex-NFL exec Michael Lombardi:

The implication that the Bears wouldn’t extend Sweat after trading such a premium pick for him was always nonsense. Of course he was getting a fat contract extension. Even with that deal on the books, Chicago is projected to have almost $65 million in salary cap room for 2024, with a likely new franchise quarterback on the way on a cheap rookie contract.

Beyond what Sweat is delivering in terms of raw results on the field, it’s evident he’s already taken a tone-setting leadership in the locker room with moments like this:

So yeah, dump on Pace all you want for Claypool. You can’t deny, though, that the Sweat deal was a freaking home run.

And if that’s a home run, the swindling job Pace pulled with the Panthers for Carolina to select Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick already looks like an all-timer. Thanks to the Panthers’ 1-12 mark, Chicago has all but locked up the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Plus, they’re still getting a high first-rounder with their own pick.

If there were a way to keep Eberflus on as defensive coordinator, but hire an offensive head coach who calls the plays, I’d be all for that. More likely, the Bears will employ ‘Flus for another year, draft Caleb Williams, and bring aboard a new play-caller to get the Heisman Trophy winner’s NFL career started on the right foot.

Things seem to be really looking up in Chicago for the first time in a long time. For such a big market and a football city starved for a respectable team, the Bears are a sleeping giant who may well wake up very, very soon.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock