Wednesday, September 27, 2023

The Roquan Smith Trade That Makes The Most Sense


Roquan Smith decided to turn up the heat this past week with his public criticism of the Chicago Bears front office. He accused them of trying to take advantage of him and not negotiating in good faith. As a result of this dastardly act, he has formally requested a trade. Anybody with common sense can see this as a negotiating tactic. Smith wants his contract extension, and by most accounts, he wants to be the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL.

The team has expressed their desire to get a deal done. GM Ryan Poles addressed the situation shortly after the trade demand went public. He believes in keeping homegrown players. At the same time, his top priority is doing what is best for the Bears. If Smith leaves him no other options, then a trade could happen. The obvious question becomes what sort of deal makes sense.

After examining the NFL landscape looking for landing spots, one deal stands out as not only a possibility, but one that works for both sides.

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Roquan Smith for Chase Claypool and a 2nd round pick.

Why it makes sense for the Bears.

It is clear the relationship between Smith and Poles has gone frosty. The Bears GM was surprised and disappointed by the linebacker’s media stunt. While Poles maintains he wishes to keep the young defender, it’s also worth noting he has good reasons not to pay him. For one, Smith has never played outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense. That element of unknown has to be concerning. In addition, Poles doesn’t view off-the-ball linebackers as one of the premium positions on defense. He’d likely take it if he could find a way to avoid giving up the money while keeping fans happy.

One position that is in a full-blown crisis for the Bears is wide receiver. Darnell Mooney looks like he’ll continue being a stud. Beyond him, it gets ugly fast. Byron Pringle, N’Keal Harry, Velus Jones, and David Moore are all out with injuries. Even when healthy, none of them looked like true standout weapons. Claypool had over 800 yards in each of his first two seasons with 13 total touchdowns. He is 6’4 with genuine deep speed and just turned 24 years old. If the Bears wanted to arm their young quarterback, they could do much worse than a Mooney-Claypool combination.

Why it makes sense for the Steelers.

Pittsburgh had the worst run defense in the NFL last season. A big reason for that was an underachieving linebacker group. Former 1st round pick Devin Bush hasn’t lived up to their expectations, while Joe Schobert wasn’t the quick fix they’d been hoping for. They didn’t do much to fix the position either. The Steelers run a 3-4 defense. That means Roquan Smith would be an excellent fit at inside linebacker, a position he knows well.

Claypool has well-documented issues with head coach Mike Tomlin. The two have butted heads a few times over the past year. Pittsburgh signed Diontae Johnson to a contract extension and also drafted two receivers in George Pickens and Calvin Austin. Pickens is reportedly tearing Steelers training camp up. Claypool isn’t a necessity for them anymore, making him perfect trade bait.


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Dennis S
Dennis S
Aug 13, 2022 7:23 pm

I wouldn’t hesitate to make this deal if Pittsburgh. Don’t get me wrong, I love Roquan, but I don’t think he’s worthy of being the highest paid LB in the league. The fact is he’s still under contract this year and the Bears can tag him next year if they choose to (and he still won’t be the highest paid LB). He most likely won’t forfeit his salary and sit out the season. Then the Bears can really make him look stupid when they extend Mooney to a long-term deal.

Aug 13, 2022 5:39 am

I believe if this trade was even remotely considered by Pittsburg, Poles would have already sent R Smith to them and had C Claypool in camp. Stop eating the mushrooms and sober up!

Aug 12, 2022 10:19 pm

Hmmm, that’s worth considering over a malcontent LB intent on becoming the highest paid linebacker in the league when he is not the best. Top 10, one could argue top 5 but not the best. And will play on off linebacker position. Love to see him get paid fairly and play for us this year but not overpaid.

Aug 12, 2022 3:46 pm

Now he’s got the whole non agent making calls to other teams looking for a trade deal without the Bears approving he is on the block and without the non agent guy being certified by the NFLPA.

The guy really needs some honest help. Maybe a priest. Sucks the Bears are stuck with him. Just let him sit out and plan accordingly.

Aug 12, 2022 12:29 pm

Roquan Smith NFL highlights and awards: 2× Second-team All-Pro (2020, 2021) PFWA All-Rookie Team (2018) Shaq Leonard NFL highlights and awards: NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year (2018) 3× First-team All-Pro (2018, 2020, 2021) Second-team All-Pro (2019) 3× Pro Bowl (2019–2021) NFL forced fumbles leader (2021) NFL tackles leader (2018) PFWA All-Rookie Team (2018) Roquan is trippin’. The trade that “makes sense” is the one that moves Smith to a team willing to overpay him AND give up draft capitol to get the chance to overpay. TL/DR : Only thing that would make sense would be for Roquan Smith to… Read more »

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