Bears News: Ryan Poles on Cole Kmet's extension:

Bears News: Ryan Poles on Cole Kmet's extension: "He's a true professional"

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - The Chicago Bears have officially secured tight end Cole Kmet to a four-year, $50 million contract extension. The terms of this contract guarantee that he is in Chicago for the next two seasons and gives him nearly $13 million in the 2023 season. General manager Ryan Poles is satisfied with finally getting this deal done, as it has been in the works since spring.

“He embodies everything we look for in a Bear - his hard work, dedication, how he handles himself in the locker room,” Poles said. “He’s a true professional, obviously comes from a family of professionals, and you can see that in the way he approaches his work. So, we’re all excited about that.”

The Bears originally drafted Kmet back in 2020 with the No. 43 pick overall in the second round. He was a standout tight end for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for three seasons, garnering all six of his touchdown receptions in his final season. In total in his college career, he had 60 receptions for 691 yards.

In his three seasons with the Bears, however, he has been a lot more productive with 110 receptions over the last two seasons, as well as starting every game. This was especially important last season as the Bears struggled to have some consistency among the receivers. Giving him this contract is an investment in Kmet’s future because Poles and the rest of the Bears believe that Kmet has room to grow and develop even further.

“I think anytime you do an extension, your expectation is, obviously there’s part, like, what he’s done but where he’s going as well,” Poles explained. “So, we think he’s on the right track to continue to grow and become a good player.”

Another important aspect of this deal is that it shows Poles’s confidence in some of the home-grown talent on the Bears. Chicago has not had the best turnouts with draft picks in recent years, highlighted by former first-rounder Roquan Smith requesting a trade and eventually getting traded to the Baltimore Ravens. However, this deal means that the Bears did draft some players they can keep around and they are interested in doing that.

“I think, one, it’s good to get extensions done when you have a good young player like Cole. I do think it energizes the locker room, especially this being my first, you know, extension. I think it sends a good message,” Poles stated. “I think everyone knows me and what I stand for, what I believe in in terms of taking care of your players. But there’s always action, you know, that needs to come behind words.”

Speaking of deals, some have wondered what is going on with Jaylon Johnson. There was speculation that he was holding out in voluntary organized team activities (OTAs). However, that was not the case, as he was spending time with his daughter.

Still, with Johnson set to become a free agent after the 2023 season, it serves to reason that he would be next to receive a contract extension or a new deal. Drafted three picks after Kmet at No. 50 overall in 2020, Johnson has been important for the Bears in the defensive backfield, with 31 passes defended in his three seasons with Chicago. He does not have a deal right now, and Poles declined to indicate whether one may be coming.

“He’s out at camp working hard. We have a process of how we’re going to do things, you know, and when we get to that, again, I’ll update you guys as we go in terms of when things get done,” Poles said. “The relationship’s good. He’s out there showing he can perform at a high level and become the player that he wants to be and improve.”

The preseason kicks off on Saturday, August (12 pm) against the Tennessee Titans, so perhaps this will provide an opportunity to see Kmet and Johnson in action for a short time, as starters are usually only in preseason games for a short period.

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