Did Chicago Bears overpay Cole Kmet with contract extension?

The Chicago Bears gave Cole Kmet a 4-year, $50 M deal. Was this fair market value, or an overpay?

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The Chicago Bears gave Cole Kmet a contract extension, a move that many saw coming. However, the big question was the price. The tight-end market seems to go up and down every year, making it hard to project exactly what will happen.

Chicago Bears extend Cole Kmet before 2023 NFL season

When we looked into Cole Kmet and the prospects of him signing a contract extension this summer, we thought that a three-year deal worth $30M per year and $18M in guarantees might be what Kmet could settle into. Getting a four-year deal worth $50M and getting $32.8M in guarantees is more than we projected. So, were we off, or was it an overpay?

It may be a small case of both. One factor in the situation is that Evan Engram signed an extension about a week before Kmet did. We noted in that piece that he may come in right under Engram, and Engram was at $11.8M at the time. However, his new deal pushed him closer to $13.8M, and thus, the dollar amount by Kmet probably would go up a million or two as well.

The other factor was putting far too much stock into the Dalton Schultz contract. Schultz had a bad market, and he went from a franchise tag salary to just $6.25M per year. When you compare Schultz to Kmet, it is hard to say Kmet is a lot better.

However, Kmet is coming off a strong 2022, and Schultz fell down to earth. More than that, Kmet is 24 while Schultz is 27. If Kmet does not ascend, he may be in the place of Schultz at that age. However, the thought is that Kmet will get better and will be much better in three seasons. Even when you compare Kmet to the likes of the top-paid tight ends, there is not a single tight end under the age of 25 years old making more than $10M per year.

So, the debate comparing him to Schultz or these other tight ends can easily lean toward Kmet being the higher-paid asset when you think of him getting paid for what is to come and less about what he did.

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On the surface, the salary looks high. However, the extension of Engram and the age of Kmet make it understandable why both sides found common ground right here.