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Montez Sweat: Extension allowed me to play freer and looser with Bears

Defensive end Montez Sweat's initial reaction to being traded from the Commanders to the Bears ahead of the trade deadline in October was not a positive one, but it didn't take long for him to see things in a more positive light.

Sweat told NFL.com that he was "definitely discouraged" by being traded after opening his fifth season with 6.5 sacks in eight games for the Commanders. He got more encouragement from the four-year, $98 million contract extension he signed days after the trade, however, and posted six more sacks in his first nine games with his new team.

"Yeah, just like any athlete who wants to get paid and get that money secured, it was a big relief," Sweat said. "I think it allowed me to play more free and more loose."

The Bears hope the freer and looser Sweat remains in his first year of the new deal and that the half-season in Chicago was a sign of bigger things to come in the future.