Bears Urged to Extend Young Player Soon: He’s ‘In the Midst of a Breakout’

Matt Eberflus

Getty Should the Chicago Bears extend tight end Cole Kmet?

Tight end Cole Kmet is starting to break out for the Chicago Bears.

A third-year player out of Notre Dame, Kmet has 26 receptions for 309 yards and five touchdowns in 11 starts for the team this year. He has a 102.9 passer rating when targeted, and is averaging 5.0 yards after the catch, per PFF.

Kmet ranks 18th in the league amongst all tight ends in yards, but he’s second at the position in TD catches and is developing a better chemistry with quarterback Justin Fields as the weeks progress. He’s also gotten far better at finding the end zone in Year 3. After catching 60 passes for 612 yards and no touchdowns in 2021, Kmet has five TD snags already, and he’s starting to make the kinds of jaw-dropping catches you want to see from your top tight end.

Considering his performance this season, several analysts think Chicago should prioritize signing Kmet to a contract extension.

Kmet Just Had the Catch of His Career Week 11 vs Falcons

With 10:19 remaining in the first half of Chicago’s 27-24 Week 11 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Kmet hauled in an incredible one-handed catch on a dart from Fields for a 26-yard gain. You can check it out above.

“I thought Justin actually threw a really good ball getting it over the first level, technically second-level defenders. I was just able to make a good play on the ball,” Kmet said about the catch after the loss to Atlanta.

While he was excited to be able to make a play for his young quarterback, Kmet was more perturbed about the team’s fourth-straight loss than anything else.

“No one likes to lose, man,” the Bears TE added. “It eats away at you and it bothers you for sure. We just have to get over this hump and like I said execute there late in the game.”

What Could a Cole Kmet Extension Look Like?

Kmet is in the third year of his four-year, $7.6 million rookie contract, and he is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. According to Over the Cap, the third-year tight end’s value is going up nearly every week, and after his three-catch, 35-yard performance against the Falcons, OTC has him valued at $12.1 million per year.

Jacob Infante of Windy City Gridiron thinks the Bears should try to lock Kmet up for years to come, particularly if he continues playing as well as he has been.

PFF insider Doug Kyed agrees, noting Kmet is currently “in the midst of a breakout.”

A Lake Barrington, Illinois, native, Kmet attended high school in Arlington Heights, which will be the likely site of the team’s next stadium. The 43rd overall pick for the Bears in 2020, Kmet getting linked to an extension would be a great story, and it’s also something general manager Ryan Poles and the team can afford to do.

Per OTC, the Bears are set to have over $125 million in cap space next year, by far the most in the league. They will be able to afford several high-priced free agents, and they’ll also be able to extend the players they value most. If he keeps playing the way he has been, Kmet will surely be one of those guys.

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