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    Montez Sweat Landing Spots: Bears, Lions, Falcons Could Target Commanders Pass Rusher

    The Washington Commanders can't keep all their defensive linemen long term, so where are trade candidate Montez Sweat's best landing spots?

    A few veteran players typically get traded during the NFL Draft, and Washington Commanders edge rusher Montez Sweat is a candidate to be moved this weekend. Given that the Commanders are already heavily invested in defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, it will likely be impossible for them to retain both Sweat and Chase Young, whose fifth-year option Washington declined on Wednesday.

    If Sweat is traded in the coming days, where are his best landing spots? Let’s run through the potential suitors that make sense.

    Montez Sweat’s Potential Landing Spots

    Sweat, 26, has been a consistent force on Washington’s defensive line since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2019. The Mississippi State alum has posted 29 sacks over four NFL seasons, set a new career-high with 28 quarterback hits in 2022, and tied for 13th among edge defenders with 62 pressures a season ago, per PFF.

    Sweat has also been pretty durable during his stint with the Commanders. He only missed time in 2020, when a fractured jaw and a stint on the COVID list cost him seven games.

    MORE: 100% FREE NFL Mock Draft Simulator (With Trades)

    While Sweat might not profile as a No. 1 pass rusher, he’s at least a high-end No. 2. Given the market for defensive ends, Washington could ask for a first-round pick in a trade for Sweat. But because his next team would also have to give him an extension worth at least $22 million annually, Sweat might only command a second-rounder.

    Chicago Bears

    Over the past two offseasons, the Bears have both the draft and free agency to solidify the second and third levels of Matt Eberflus’ defense. Safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon joined Chicago as Day 2 picks in 2022, while the Bears added veteran linebackers Tremaine Edmunds and TJ Edwards in 2023.

    But Chicago’s defensive line still needs work. Sweat would instantly become the best edge rusher on a Bears depth chart featuring Rasheem Green and Trevis Gipson as likely starters. Chicago only blitzed on 18.2% of dropbacks last season, the seventh-lowest rate in the league, so the club’s front four needs to get pressure on its own.

    The Bears won’t give up the ninth overall selection for Sweat. But they hold two picks at the end of the second round — Nos. 53 and 61 — and one of those choices could be exchanged for Sweat.

    Detroit Lions

    The Lions are set at one defensive end spot for the foreseeable future after Aidan Hutchinson — last year’s No. 2 overall pick — posted 9.5 sacks and finished second in Defensive Rookie of the Year voting in 2022.

    The other side of Detroit’s defensive line has far more questions. John Cominsky flashed last season but doesn’t have much of an NFL track record to rely on. And Romeo Okwara, Charles Harris, and 2022 second-rounder Josh Paschal all missed significant time with injuries last year.

    MORE: NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker 2023

    Like their NFC North rivals, the Lions also have multiple selections in Round 2 (Nos. 48 and 55). If Dan Campbell wants to build one of the best pass-rushing groups in the NFL, I could see Detroit sending one of those Day 2 picks to Washington in order to pair Sweat with Hutchinson.

    Atlanta Falcons

    Atlanta’s defense will look significantly different in 2023. Not only is new coordinator Ryan Nielsen calling the plays, but the Falcons spent effusively in free agency to land Jessie Bates, Calais Campbell, David Onyemata, Kaden Elliss, and Bud Dupree.

    Elliss and Dupree will give Atlanta options on the edge, and they also used Day 2 choices on Arnold Ebiketie and DeAngelo Malone in 2022. But, aside from one fluke season from Vic Beasley, the Falcons haven’t had a dominant defensive end since John Abraham was in town in the mid-to-late 2000s.

    Sweat could be that guy for Atlanta, especially if Nielsen believes Sweat is an ascending player who could grow even more with the Falcons. If Atlanta drafts a pass rusher like Nolan Smith or Lukas Van Ness at No. 8, Sweat probably won’t make sense. But if the Falcons go in a different first-round direction, he could be an option.

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