Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Roquan Smith Trade Buzz Has Returned


The NFL trade deadline arrives on November 1st. That leaves the Chicago Bears less than two weeks before some decisions must be made. They could go hunting for an upgrade at positions of need like wide receiver, offensive line, or defensive tackle. They could seek to unload some of their expensive veterans or looming free agents. Or they could stand pat and do nothing. GM Ryan Poles hasn’t made it clear what the plans are. Yet it appears that one name he’ll have to consider is Roquan Smith.

It isn’t a secret the linebacker requested a trade back in the summer after contract negotiations stalled. When nothing materialized, Smith decided to play out the last season of his rookie deal in hopes he could strengthen his bargaining power. Whether he’s accomplished that depends on who you ask. Statistically, he has been productive with 66 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and an interception. However, the tape shows a player making a lot of mistakes. Either way, Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report thinks the timing is perfect for the Bears to unload him.

He even has a destination in mind.

“The 2-4 Bears aren’t likely to be relevant in the NFC playoff race this season, as their offense and Justin Fields have been too inconsistent for that. However, Smith is playing at an All-Pro level and could see the postseason with, say, the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chargers rank dead last in yards per rush allowed (5.8) and could desperately use a playmaker like Smith to bolster their 30th-ranked scoring defense. L.A. has $6.3 million in cap space available and wouldn’t have to create much space to absorb the remainder of Smith’s $9.7 million base salary.

Los Angeles also seems to have a good working relationship with Chicago general manager Ryan Poles, who dealt Khalil Mack to L.A. in the offseason.”

Roquan Smith is a tough decision for the Bears.

It comes down to how confident Poles is he can get an extension done when the next opportunity arrives next off-season. Chicago does have the franchise tag in its back pocket. So they can secure Smith for at least one more year. The question is whether they might just be delaying the inevitable. They could use the tag to buy time until they can address the linebacker position. Or they can rip the bandaid off now.

No doubt, Roquan Smith can be a building block on defense for the Bears. However, the team might be better off moving on if he is 100% committed to breaking records in his contract pursuit. While a very good player, nobody would confuse him for being genuinely great. He isn’t on the same level as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. Also, don’t forget this era of the NFL is different. Off-the-ball linebackers aren’t nearly as crucial as pass rushers and cornerbacks.

If another team like the Chargers is willing to give decent compensation, maybe the Bears would be better off in the long run taking the deal.


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Big Swede
Big Swede
Oct 20, 2022 3:00 pm

Re ~ Russ: “If we ‘tag’ him… he’ll “pull a hammy” and be PUP all season…”

Yeah, Russ, I don’t think so… that would absolutely ruin his career as no team would ever consider signing him again.

Bill Kortum
Bill Kortum
Oct 20, 2022 12:25 pm

Smith is in a new defensive scheme. I would keep him, pay him and move on. Unless they can get a high picki.e.2 or 3.

Oct 20, 2022 8:26 am

A player like Roquan Smith is an asset to a team as long as he is focused on the team and not just himself. He obviously is a very good player but he thinks he needs a new contract that is the highest paid for a linebacker and I don’t think he will get it with the Bears. If I were Poles I’d trade him this year for a high draft choice.

Tom Croce
Tom Croce
Oct 19, 2022 2:51 pm

Flush him for the best you can do. Loved his play b4 this year but he’s just not making imopact plays like he has historically. Had the awesome game v Texans, but the rest he seems to be filling the stat sheet with tackles 5-10 yeards downfield after the rest of the porous D whiffs on multiple tackle attempts. His salary demands and his insistance on repping himself make this no win.

Oct 19, 2022 12:13 pm

If we can get a 2, take it, period. If not, use all the tools available to keep him without overpaying, including the tag.

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