NFL trade deadline 2022: Why did the Bears trade LB Roquan Smith to the Ravens?
The Bears, after being clobbered by the Cowboys on Sunday, have traded linebacker Roquan Smith, who beat himself up about the loss, to the Ravens.
The Chicago Bears traded linebacker and the league leader in tackles (83), Roquan Smith, to the Baltimore Ravens for a 2023 second-round pick, a 2023 fifth-round pick, and linebacker A.J. Klein. In return, the Ravens were able to fill a big hole in their defense.
It’s pretty clear how the Ravens will benefit from this trade. They have been struggling at the position for a while now and needed an upgrade. Smith is second in the league in tackles since 2018 with 606 total, trailing only LA Rams LB Bobby Wagner (who the Ravens nearly acquired back in March). Through the first eight weeks in the 2022 season, Smith is third in the league in solo tackles (52) and has 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. Smith brings something to the table for Baltimore, but why would the Bears get rid of him if he’s such a great playmaker?
On Sunday, the Bears lost 49-29 to the Dallas Cowboys and Smith took that loss pretty badly, blaming himself for an “embarrassing” and “unacceptable” defensive showing. Despite his ability to make tackles this season, Smith has struggled to cover and has played relatively average most of the season. For a player demanding to be the highest-paid off-ball linebacker, that’s not good enough.
Bears manager Ryan Poles was never willing to pay Smith what he was requesting. In August, Smith publicly requested a trade, calling the contract talks “distasteful”, but eventually decided to play out the final year of his contract, knowing that the Bears could give him the franchise tag at the end of it. For the Bears, this season was a chance for Smith to prove he was worth more, and he did not do that. At 25 years old, he would not be worth the $20 million while the Bears look to rebuild the team.
Instead, with the Smith trade plus trading defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the Bears have earned a second-, fourth-, and fifth-round pick in 2023. It was a long-term decision for the Bears and one that lost them a young Pro Bowler who leads the NFL in tackles, but gained them the hopes of using the money they’ll save on better free agents and new, young talent.
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