Nov 5, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  Chicago Bears tight end Cole Kmet (85) catches a touchdown pass over New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) during the first half at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Five takeaways help Saints defeat Bears

Paulson Adebo had two interceptions and a fumble recovery and the host New Orleans Saints defeated the Chicago Bears 24-17 on Sunday afternoon.

Adebo’s takeaways led to 10 points for the Saints (5-4), who finished with five takeaways and no turnovers. That enabled them to hold off the Bears (2-7) as Derek Carr passed for 211 yards and two touchdowns.

Rookie Tyson Bagent, making his third consecutive start in place of injured Justin Fields, passed for 220 yards and two touchdowns, but he threw three interceptions and lost a fumble.

On the Bears’ first possession of the third quarter, Adebo took the ball away from DJ Moore, giving it to New Orleans at the Chicago 39.

That led to Blake Grupe’s 55-yard field goal and the Saints’ first lead at 17-14. On the ensuing possession Cairo Santos kicked a 31-yard field goal and the score was 17-17 through three quarters.

Taysom Hill threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson to give New Orleans a 24-17 lead with 11:05 remaining.

On the second play after the ensuing kickoff Marcus Maye intercepted Bagent at the Chicago 38, but the Bears got the ball back when they stopped Carr for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the 17.

New Orleans had another chance to extend the lead, but Grupe’s 47-yard field goal hit the left upright and caromed wide with 2:26 remaining.

But the Saints got the ball back moments later when Bagent fumbled while being sacked by Demario Davis, and Pete Werner recovered.

The Bears received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards on nine plays, capped by Bagent’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Cole Kmet.

Their next possession ended when Adebo intercepted a Bagent pass and set up New Orleans at the Chicago 45. Ten plays later, Carr threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chris Olave to tie the score at seven at the end of the first quarter.

Bagent and Kmet combined on a 9-yard touchdown pass to break the tie, before Carr threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Hill to even at the score 14.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat (90) on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

DE Montez Sweat, Bears agree to 4-year, $98M extension

The Chicago Bears and newly acquired defensive end Montez Sweat have agreed to a four-year, $98 million deal, which includes nearly $73 million in guaranteed money, NFL Network reported Saturday.

The Washington Commanders traded Sweat to the Bears at the trade deadline on Tuesday for a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft

The new deal, with an annual average value of $24.5 million, puts him among the elite earners at the position. Currently, only San Francisco’s Nick Bosa ($34 million) and Cleveland’s Myles Garrett ($25 million) earn more.

Sweat, 27, has recorded 6.5 sacks in eight games this season and is one of seven players with at least 5.0 sacks in each of the past five seasons.
He also has 32 tackles and two forced fumbles this season.

“What’s unique about him is that he’s one heck of a pass rusher, but he also – talking to the guys that have played against him in the building and just watching his tape – he’s a really good run player and plays with a great motor,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said of Sweat. “He’s a great practice player, just talking to the guys that have been with him.

“He’s going to fit right into our culture in terms of working, and your best players got to be your hardest workers.”

Washington selected Sweat with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2019 draft. He is playing this season on an $11.5 million fifth-year option, and Chicago had the cap space to offer him a big extension.

Sweat has 197 tackles, 35.5 sacks and nine forced fumbles in 67 career games, all starts.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) passes over the defense of Chicago Bears defensive lineman Andrew Billings (97) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Bears sign NT Andrew Billings to 2-year extension

The Chicago Bears and nose tackle Andrew Billings agreed to a two-year contract extension Thursday.

The team did not announce financial terms, but ESPN reported the deal is worth $8.5 million with $6 million guaranteed and covers the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

Billings, 28, is playing this season on a one-year, $2.75 million deal he signed in free agency in March.

“It feels good that somebody appreciates you and that you’re doing a good enough job that they want you around a little longer,” he told the team website on Thursday. “That always feels good.”

Billings has started all eight games for the Bears (2-6), posting 14 tackles with three for losses.

He has 4.5 sacks, 16 quarterback hits and 134 tackles in 75 games (59 starts) with the Cincinnati Bengals (2017-19), Cleveland Browns (2021), Las Vegas Raiders (2022) and Bears. The Bengals drafted him in the fourth round in 2016.

“We’re extremely excited to be able to keep Andrew in Chicago,” general manager Ryan Poles said. “The professionalism, dependability and toughness he brings exhibit the type of player we want in our organization.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus shouts instructions to his team during the first half against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Heading in different directions, Bears, Saints meet in New Orleans

The Chicago Bears won’t be getting Justin Fields back this week.

Montez Sweat is arriving, and running backs coach David Walker is moving on.

It has been a tough week and turbulent first two months of the season for the Bears (2-6) as they prepare to visit the New Orleans Saints Sunday.

“We really feel we’re turning the corner,” head coach Matt Eberflus said, noting that both wins have come in the last four games. “I think the direction is good. The defense is on the rise.”

On Tuesday, the Bears traded a 2024 second-round draft choice to the Washington Commanders in return for Sweat (pending a physical) to try and upgrade one of the NFL’s weakest pass rushes.

General manager Ryan Poles called Sweat “a huge addition” to a defense with an NFL-worst 10 sacks. Sweat has 6.5 sacks so far this season, giving him a total of 35.5 in five seasons.

Rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent will make his third straight start in place of Fields, who continues to rehab a thumb injury.

Bagent completed 25 of 37 for 232 yards but was intercepted twice in a 30-13 loss to the Chargers last Sunday in Los Angeles.

Eberflus announced Wednesday that Walker had been dismissed and assistant quarterbacks/wide receivers coach Omar Young would take over his duties.

“We are building a program and have standards to be upheld as a staff and organization both on and off the field,” Eberflus said, “and those standards were not met (by Walker).”

The Bears fired defensive coordinator Alan Williams in September.

The Saints (4-4) had lost four of five before recording their highest-scoring performance in the last 20 games in a 38-27 victory at Indianapolis last Sunday.

New Orleans has changed the left side of the offensive line because guard James Hurst missed the last two games due to injury, and Trevor Penning was benched three games ago. Andrus Peat moved from guard to tackle, and Max Garcia started at guard.

The Saints had season highs of 350 passing yards, 161 rushing yards and 511 total yards against the Colts. It was the third consecutive game in which they gained 400 yards.

“The effectiveness of any offense starts up front,” coach Dennis Allen said. “It affects the ability to run the football and to throw the football by giving the quarterback a clean pocket to throw from. Every quarterback is affected by sacks and pressure, not just physically but mentally.”

New Orleans entered the game against the Colts ranked 28th in the NFL in red-zone efficiency. In four trips against Indianapolis, the Saints scored three touchdowns, and the fourth produced a field goal that gave them a two-score lead in the final minute.

“The last few weeks we’ve been moving the ball well,” quarterback Derek Carr said, “but (last week) we finished our drives with touchdowns. We connected on some big plays. That helps too. When you finish in the red zone with touchdowns it makes everybody feel better.”

Hurst (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. Fields was one of four Bears starters that did not practice. The others were guard Nate Davis (illness), linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (knee) and safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion).

Wide receiver Lynn Bowden (illness) and linebacker Ty Summers (Concussion/hamstring) did not practice Wednesday for the Saints.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) in the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Bears QB Justin Fields not ready to test thumb

Rookie quarterback Tyson Bagent remains the starter for the Bears when Chicago visits the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Justin Fields is not ready to test his injured right thumb and remains week-to-week with a possibility of returning to practice next week.

The Bears (2-6) will return home from New Orleans (4-4) to a short week of preparation for a Thursday night game against the Carolina Panthers in Week 10.

Head coach Matt Eberflus labeled Fields “week to week,” the same assessment given from the team since he was injured in the Oct. 15 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Bagent relieved Fields in that game and his comeback attempt came up short with a game-ending interception.

Bagent is 1-1 as a starter with one touchdown and three interceptions, but is completing 70 percent of his passes and has been sacked only three times. Fields was injured trying to escape pressure and was sacked 24 times in the first six games of the 2023 season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 5, 2023; Landover, Maryland, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus stands on the sidelines against the Washington Commanders during the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

More coaching trouble? Bears fire RB coach David Walker

The Chicago Bears fired running backs coach David Walker on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

Walker is the second assistant coach Chicago has parted with this season. Defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigned in September in a move co-orchestrated by the team’s HR department, per multiple reports.

ESPN reported that human resources was also involved in the decision to fire Walker, noting he violated workplace behavior protocol for a second time.

The Bears are fifth in the NFL in rushing. They do not employ an assistant running backs coach.

When Williams resigned Sept. 20, head coach Matt Eberflus took over the defensive playcalling.

Walker, 53, joined the team when Eberflus was hired in 2022. He previously coached in the NFL with the Detroit Lions (2016-18) and Indianapolis Colts (2011-14).

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) and defensive end Montez Sweat (90) on the field against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

NFL trade roundup: Commanders sell; Vikings add QB Josh Dobbs

The Washington Commanders made the most noise at the NFL trade deadline, parting with starting defensive ends Montez Sweat and Chase Young, the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Chicago Bears gave up a 2024 second-round draft pick for Sweat, and the San Francisco 49ers followed by trading a compensatory third-rounder for Young.
The two former first-round picks both will be free agents at the end of the league year.

Under the new ownership of Josh Harris — famed for green-lighting “the process” with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers — the 3-5 Commanders bid farewell to both Sweat and Young rather than trying to retain one or both on long-term deals. Tuesday’s trades will give Washington five picks in the first three rounds of the 2024 draft.

Young, 24, missed much of his second and third NFL seasons due to multiple injuries after winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020. He had five sacks in seven appearances (six starts) in 2023 and has tallied 14 sacks and 26 quarterback hits in 34 career games.

The 49ers (5-3), currently on a three-game losing streak, added Young to an imposing front seven that already features defensive end Nick Bosa, Young’s former Ohio State teammate and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Bosa was the No. 2 pick in the 2019 draft, one year before Washington drafted Young second overall.

Sweat, 27, has recorded 6.5 sacks in eight games this season and is one of seven players with at least 5.0 sacks in each of the past five seasons.

Part of the motive for the Commanders to make the trades was the cap crunch surrounding their haul of first-round picks at the position. Washington had previously signed defensive tackle Jonathan Allen to a four-year, $72 million extension and his interior linemate Daron Payne to a four-year, $90 million contract.

Other trades reported or officially announced Tuesday before the 4 p.m. ET deadline:

–The Minnesota Vikings acquired quarterback Josh Dobbs and a 2024 seventh-round pick from the Arizona Cardinals for a 2024 sixth-round draft choice.

The Vikings lost quarterback Kirk Cousins when he sustained a season-ending torn right Achilles injury on Sunday.

The Cleveland Browns had traded Dobbs to Arizona at the close of training camp as the Cardinals were forced to start the season without Kyler Murray, still recovering from ACL surgery.

Dobbs, 28, completed 62.8 percent of his passes for 1,569 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions in eight games for Arizona. He has thrown for 2,025 yards with 10 touchdowns and eight picks in 16 games with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans and Cardinals.

–The Vikings also dealt left guard Ezra Cleveland to the AFC South-leading Jacksonville Jaguars in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick, per multiple reports.

Cleveland, 25, missed the past two weeks with a foot injury, and former Denver Broncos starter Dalton Risner has held down the position in Minnesota.

Cleveland was a second-round draft pick by the Vikings in 2020, and he started all 17 games in both 2021 and 2022. He has made 53 appearances (49 starts) in his three-plus years in the NFL.

–The Detroit Lions acquired wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones from the Browns in exchange for a sixth-round pick in 2025.

Peoples-Jones, 24, has eight catches for 97 yards in seven games this season for the Browns, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2020 draft. He hails from Detroit and played his college football at Michigan.

“We feel like he fits our style,” Lions coach Dan Campbell told reporters. “He’s smart and he can play multiple positions. … We just felt like he’d be a good fit for the team and the room.”

In four seasons with Cleveland, Peoples-Jones has 117 catches for 1,837 yards and eight touchdowns. His best season was 2022, with 61 catches for 839 yards and three touchdowns.

–The Buffalo Bills acquired veteran cornerback Rasul Douglas and a fifth-round draft pick from the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a third-rounder on Tuesday, NFL Network and The Athletic reported.

Douglas, 29, heads to an AFC contender that lacked cornerback depth after Tre’Davious White suffered a torn Achilles and was lost for the season.

Douglas had one interception, one fumble recovery and 32 tackles in seven starts for the Packers (2-5) this season.

Green Bay is in rebuilding mode in Jordan Love’s first year at starting quarterback in place of Aaron Rodgers, while Buffalo (5-3) is in the thick of the AFC East race despite up-and-down performances.

–Field Level Media

Oct 1, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Washington Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat (90) on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bears acquire DE Montez Sweat from Commanders

The Chicago Bears are acquiring Washington Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat from the Washington Commanders in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, according to multiple reports.

Sweat, 27, has recorded 6.5 sacks in eight games this season and is one of seven players with at least 5.0 sacks in each of the past five seasons.

By comparison, the Bears have a league-low 10 sacks in 2023.

Sweat has 35.5 sacks in his career and is in the final season of his contract. The Bears have enough salary-cap space to offer Sweat a long-term deal or use the franchise tag..

Part of the motive for the Commanders to make a trade is the cap crunch surrounding their haul of first-round picks invested in the position. Washington signed defensive tackle Jonathan Allen to a four-year, $72 million extension and his interior linemate Daron Payne to a four-year, $90 million contract. Even with Sweat gone, the Commanders still have a decision to make on former No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, who is in a contract year.

Sweat has collected 32 tackles and two forced fumbles this season.

He has 197 tackles and nine forced fumbles since being selected by Washington with the 26th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Oct 22, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears defensive back Jaylon Johnson (33) steps in front of Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) to intercept a pass before returning the ball for a touchdown in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Bears CB Jaylon Johnson permitted to seek trade

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles granted cornerback Jaylon Johnson permission to seek a new team at the trade deadline on Tuesday, according to multiple reports.

There are few doubts Poles is willing to unload Johnson, who is playing at a high level in a contract year but hasn’t been able to reach an agreement with the Bears on a contract extension.

Johnson, 24, said last week he was hopeful a deal would be struck with the Bears but described talks with the team as “slower than expected.”

Poles moved multiple defensive starters at the 2022 deadline, including linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Robert Quinn, and traded the No. 1 pick in the 2022 draft to the Carolina Panthers.

“At the end of the day, it goes back to respect as well,” Johnson said last week. “You can throw some numbers at someone and hope they take anything. That’s not what I’m looking to do. I’m looking for respect and security.”

But negotiations ceased without a contract agreement, and signs point to Johnson being shipped out of Chicago on Tuesday by the 4 p.m. deadline.

Johnson is tied as the third-ranked cornerback in Pro Football Focus rankings this season. He has two interceptions.

A second-round draft pick in 2020, Johnson is considered a target of the San Francisco 49ers and general manager John Lynch. Lynch said this week the 49ers would be targeting coverage help.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2023; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Simi Fehoko (87) celebrates after scoring on an 11-yard touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Herbert, Chargers get best of Bears

Justin Herbert passed for 298 yards and three touchdowns and Cameron Dicker kicked three field goals to boost the Los Angeles Chargers to a 30-13 win against the Chicago Bears on Sunday in Inglewood, Calif.

Los Angeles (3-4) stopped a two-game losing streak behind an efficient passing attack. Aiming to win consecutive games for the first time this season, the Bears (2-6) were outgained 352-295 as undrafted rookie Tyson Bagent struggled under center in his second career start.

Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields again was inactive after suffering a dislocated thumb in Week 6.

Herbert completed his first 15 passes of the game and was 21-for-25 for 212 yards and three touchdowns before halftime. Austin Ekeler had 104 yards of offense (91 receiving, 13 rushing) on five carries and five receptions in the first half and also scored the first TD of the night.

Ekeler snagged a short pass from Herbert and raced down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown with 7:08 left in the first quarter. That capped a 10-play, 92-yard drive for the Chargers, who scored on all four of their first-half possessions.

Following a Chicago punt, the Chargers made it 14-0 thanks to a 9-yard scoring pass from Herbert to Simi Fehoko with 43 seconds to go in the first quarter.

Ja’Sir Taylor intercepted Bagent on the Bears’ next drive, leading to a 43-yard Dicker field goal. Chicago visited the end zone via Darrynton Evans’ 11-yard run with 1:47 left in the first half, but the Chargers responded swiftly, as an 11-yard TD pass from Herbert to Donald Parham put Los Angeles ahead 24-7 at the break.

For the game, Herbert was 31-for-40 through the air, with Ekeler (seven catches, 94 yards) and Keenan Allen (eight, 69) serving as his top targets. Ekeler rushed 15 times for 29 yards.

Bagent was 25-for-37 for 232 yards and two interceptions with a rushing touchdown. D’Onta Foreman gained 34 yards on nine carries, while Cole Kmet had 10 catches for 79 yards.

Chicago surrendered 241 yards of total offense in the first two quarters, the third time this season the team has yielded at least 200 yards in the first half.

–Field Level Media