Latest On Commanders’ Deadline Plans, DE Montez Sweat

The Commanders saw their record drop to 3-5 on Sunday, potentially giving the team extra incentive to move on from one or more of their players on expiring deals. A surge in deals sending numerous contributors out of Washington should not be expected however.

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ESPN’s John Keim reports that the Commanders are unlikely to have a “fire sale.” The team has had a number of close losses, and the landscape of the NFC could keep them in contention for a wild-card spot depending on how the second half of their season goes. Still, it comes as no surprise that defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young have frequently come up in trade talks.

The former in particular has received the most interest, with a third-round pick reportedly on the table from the Falcons. Ben Standig of The Athletic reports that one team has offered a third-rounder which would become a second-round selection in the event Sweat signed an extension. Whether or not that team is Atlanta is unclear, however. Overall, Fox Sports’ Ralph Vacchiano confirms Sweat is likelier than Young to fetch a notable trade haul given the latter’s injury history.

Both former first-rounders are pending free agents, and many have questioned Washington’s willingness or ability to retain each of them on lucrative second contracts. To no surprise, the Commanders declined Young’s fifth-year option and decided to evaluate his health in 2023 before making a long-term commitment. The former Defensive Player of the Year has had a strong season to date, though.

The same is true of Sweat, who is playing on his $11.5MM option this year. The 27-year-old (as well as Young) has been the subject of trade inquiries for months, Keim adds, due to his unresolved contract situation. In Sweat’s case, that is not for a lack of desire on the team’s part to work out an agreement. The Commanders wanted to extend Sweat this past offseason, one in which the organization’s purchase by Josh Harris put a halt on contract and staff matters.

The Mississippi State product has racked up 6.5 sacks this year, giving him a strong chance of surpassing his career high (9.0, in 2020). A number of teams could be in the market for help along the edge, but the possibility of receiving a third-round compensatory pick in free agency in the event he departed will give Washington reason to command a high price in any Sweat trade. The Commanders are prepared to keep both of their starting edge rushers in place beyond tomorrow’s deadline, but interest in Sweat in particular will no doubt remain high before then.

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