Commanders make easy choice, exercise Sweat's 5th-year option

Montez Sweat

A day before the Commanders and the rest of their NFL comrades are slated to make crucial and difficult decisions in the first round of the NFL Draft, the team checked off a simple item from its to-do list.

The club announced on Wednesday that it is picking up the fifth-year option on Montez Sweat's rookie contract. As a result, Sweat will earn a guaranteed salary of just under $11 million in 2023, which will be a sizable raise from the $2 million base salary he'll receive in 2022.

Though the 2019 first-round pick has yet to fully break out for the Commanders, he has averaged seven sacks through his first three pro seasons. That number would be higher, too, were it not for last year, where a broken jaw, COVID and the loss of his brother limited him to just 10 games. 

Sweat's best output came in his second campaign with Washington. He tallied nine sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick-six for Ron Rivera's wild-card squad.

Sweat joins Jonathan Allen and Chase Young as starting defensive linemen who are now tied to the organization for multiple future seasons. Daron Payne, on the other hand, is entering the final year of his initial agreement with the Commanders.

The pass rusher will turn 26 just before Week 1 and hopefully will finally capitalize on his immense physical traits to eclipse double-digit sacks for Washington. The potential he has to achieve that — and much more — is why this was such an easy call.


And should Sweat come through, the team could then opt to negotiate an extension with him next offseason to ensure he nets an even bigger uptick in pay than the one he's landing thanks to Wednesday's exercised option.