The Chicago Bears paid Montez Sweat about $100 million on a four-year contract extension on Saturday, essentially meaning Denver may need to pay a fortune if they want to splurge at this position next year. Right now, I think Denver has a slew of "good" pass rushers, but no one truly great, and in the NFL, it's a must for teams to have an elite pass rusher.
Just take a look at the recent Super Bowl champions, yes, these teams have elite QBs, but they also have an elite ability to rush the passer, and Denver does have three young and promising pass rushers in Baron Browning, Nik Bonitto, and Jonathon Cooper. However, at this moment, all three seem to fall firmly in the "good" tier and could function as the "Robin" to the team's eventual "Batman."
Well, the Chicago Bears made a huge move at the trade deadline, acquiring Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders and paying him nearly $100 million on a four-year contract extension days later.
Sweat is a great-not-elite player who has been very productive during his NFL career. However, he is on pace for his best career. Through eight games, Sweat has 6.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and 11 QB hits. He had eight sacks and 28 QB hits last year. Sweat doesn't bring huge sack totals, but he can rush the passer and would be the best one on the Broncos' roster.
And that's my point here. If the Denver Broncos want to splurge in free agency next year on a top pass rusher, de-facto GM Sean Payton is going to have to pay up. Currently, free agent pass rushers in 2024 include Danielle Hunter, Chris Jones, Leonard Williams, Carl Lawson, Marcus Davenport, Za'Darius Smith, Yannick Ngakoue, Chase Young, among others. There are some interior players and some outside rushers as well. Some are better than Sweat, some are not.
The Broncos are definitely going to need to create some cap space in 2024, as they are going to be over the number next year, but if the team wants to invest in an elite pass rusher, the team will certainly have to pay a pretty penny. Montez Sweat's contract number certainly looks massive, but at this point, it's the going rate for the position.