Skip to main content

3 reasons why Chicago Bears should still trade Roquan Smith

Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith had pretty much been a hold-in from training camp after requesting a trade from the organization.

That’s until the former first-round pick was seen on the practice field Saturday and now plans to play out the remainder of his contract.

“This is the last year of my deal and I’m going to bet on myself as I’ve always done,” Roquan Smith to reporters on Saturday, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

As Smith notes, he is set to become a free agent following the 2022 season. While Chicago could very well opt to place the franchise tag on the linebacker, that would create even more drama. Right now, Smith is vastly underpaid in the grand scheme of things. He wants to be traded. But he’s going to suck it up and take to the field for Chicago in 2022. After that, it’s anyone’s best guess what might happen.

We’re here to say that Chicago should still bite the bullet and move off the two-time All-Pro linebacker despite hm “reporting” to camp. Here are a few of the reasons why.

Related: Ideal Roquan Smith landing spots

An All-Pro linebacker won’t make too much difference for these Chicago Bears

chicago bears' roquan smith
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s be perfectly clear here. Chicago is coming off a six-win season. It has a new brass in that of head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles. We’re talking about a squad that’s in the initial stages of a rebuild and needs to build through the draft. Chicago is much closer to competing for the cellar in the NFC North than challenging the Green Bay Packers in the old Black and Blue Division.

Simply put, a linebacker won’t make much of a difference for Chicago. Keeping an unhappy Smith aboard while contemplating an extension that would pay him north of $19 million annually isn’t a great use of resources for a rebuilding team.

Related: Justin Fields’ standing entering second year with the Chicago Bears

It’s all about Justin Fields, not Roquan Smith

NFL: Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

“This team, in two weeks, may not look exactly as it looks tonight,” Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles said after Thursday’s preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Poles has been outspoken about the need to upgrade Chicago’s offensive line. The team’s flirtation with trading 2021 second-round pick, offensive lineman Teven Jenkins, adds another layer to this. Whether it’s finding a starter-caliber lineman or adding future draft capital in a Smith trade, having more assets to upgrade in front of Justin Fields has to be a priority.

Chicago’s previous brass gave up a lot to trade up for Fields during the draft last year. This current power tandem isn’t simply going to throw the young quarterback to the wolves without giving him a better chance to succeed like we saw last season.

Related: Roquan Smith and top 2023 NFL free agents

Roquan Smith will provide Chicago Bears value

Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been some reports about what type of interest Smith will have on the trade block. One report suggests that other teams don’t view the 25-year-old Smith as an All-Pro. We believe that’s more of a negotiating tactic than anything else.

Smith has earned Second-Team All-Pro honors in each of the past two seasons. Back in 2020, the former Georgia standout yielded a mere 59.6 QB rating when targeted. That number stood at a still-solid 76.8 this past season. A ball-hawking linebacker who can also drop back into coverage brings value to the mix.

The Bears could either look to add future draft capital or bring in someone to help Fields on offense. A combination of the two could also make sense. Perhaps, a team like the Las Vegas Raiders offer up young former first-round pick Alex Leatherwood and draft assets for Smith.

Either way, getting value for Smith right now makes the most sense for a rebuilding Bears team. Whether that comes to fruition remains to be seen.