Cole Kmet Extension Watch is Underway
Now that the Super Bowl is in the books, the NFL offseason is here for each of the league’s 32 teams. Free agency opens up next month. And the 2023 NFL Draft is a little more than two months away. There is so much on the horizon for the future, it is easy to get lost in what is to come because it feels like the options and opportunities are endless. But there are things in the near future that could pop up.
Close to home, one of those things could be a Cole Kmet extension.
The 23-year-old tight end became eligible for an extension after the conclusion of the 2022 season. And in recent days, the rising fourth-year player has made multiple references to hanging around Chicago beyond his rookie contract:
In addition to telling the FOX Chicago kickoff team that he loves playing for the team he was rooting for as a youngster, Kmet also said on a podcast with Windy City Gridiron’s Bill Zimmerman that he “obviously he would love to be in Chicago.” Kmet would also say that he’ll be working with his agent shortly and map out what the offseason could look like. So while it doesn’t seem like a Kmet extension is imminent, there is at least some interest from one side of the table that wants to cut a deal.
Perhaps the interest will soon be mutual. After all, Kmet is coming off a year in which he caught 50 passes, put up 544 receiving yards, and found the end zone seven times. And he is just one year removed from setting career bests in catches (60) and receiving yards (612). Kmet has improved each year, which is a good sign. He also appears to have set a strong baseline for what he could accomplish on a year-to-year basis. Plus, he doesn’t turn 24 until next month. That suggests the Notre Dame product still has room to grow. So … how about that extension?
Well, it sure seems plausible. Back in January, Chris Emma (670 The Score) wrote “the Bears will likely begin working toward a new deal for him in the coming months” when analyzing the tight end position and Kmet’s future. More recently, The Athletic’s Adam Jahns shared his belief that Kmet is “the most likely to receive an extension” from the Bears this offseason. That’s saying something when considering receiver Darnell Mooney and cornerback Jaylon Johnson are also in that conversation.
Johnson says the two sides have already had discussions. And during the regular season, one insider was already hearing whispers about a potential Mooney extension. However, I wonder if Mooney switching agencies in the offseason changes that dynamic. Oh, and we can’t forget about the possibility of a new David Montgomery deal. There appears to be mutual interest on some level in that reunion taking place. In other words, the Bears have a lot of irons in the fire right now. Hopefully, they’re closely and carefully monitoring each of those situations.
We’ve been discussing Kmet extension possibilities for some time. Patrick got the ball rolling in December and put us in a mindset to begin thinking about Kmet getting a new deal with the Bears. Meanwhile, I was exploring what an agreement could look like. Kmet’s next deal could be in the $12 million per year range. Guarantees could be in the ballpark of $20-30 million. And the total value could reach up to $40-50 million. These might seem like steep prices at the moment. However, a continuously rising cap could make those concerns subside a bit. In the end, I hope the two sides work out a deal. Not only does Kmet want to be here, but the Bears have money to spend under the cap. Let’s get down to it and not waste any more time than necessary.