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Roquan Smith trade destinations: What are some potential new teams for linebacker?

From a surprisingly low pricetag, to cap space effects, to his prowess on the field, a move for Roquan Smith just seems to make sense.

Roquan Smith trade destinations: What are some potential new teams for linebacker?
Chicago TribuneGetty

Now that the Chicago’s star LB has requested a trade, we take a look at the potential landing spots that have been put forward in the last few hours.

The value of Roquan Smith

It was just yesterday, that Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith officially requested a trade out of the Windy City and with that the clamor for his serviced began. It’s worth noting the circumstances under which Smith made his move seem to both be disappointing for him, but also opportunistic for others in terms of contract and cap space. Where the former is concerned, Smith made it clear that he felt he had no choice:

“Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn’t value me here. They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been ‘take it or leave it.’ The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it,” Smith wrote. “I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me. I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city. However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table.”

At 25, Smith is in the final year of his rookie deal. To that end, he’s owed $9.74 million in base salary for 2022 which it must be said, could significantly lessen the cap hit should the team that moves for do so with an extension. According to reports, Smith has reportedly rejected a back-loaded offer to stay and with that it would be safe to assume that he will sign for whoever gives him a deal that he thinks is worthy. As for whether or not he’s worth it? Smith has been a Second-Team All-Pro for the last two consecutive seasons. In this last campaign, he registered 163 combined tackles, 12 for loss, three sacks, one interception and three passes defended. Across the four years that he’s spent in the league, he’s had 100 combined tackles. It stands to reason that Smith would be an asset to any team seriously considering a run for the Super Bowl. With all of that out of the way, Smith’s potential landing spots were announced shortly after news of his request broke. Let’s take a look:

Atlanta Falcons

Having grown up just outside of Atlanta, there would be an element of homecoming in this one. That’s not to say there’s no logic in the former Bulldog joining a team that’s in the middle of a rebuild. Yes, one could argue that there’s no point in signing a high-profile future free agent, when the position he plays is not of immediate concern. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be better to have such a player on the books rather than not. There is also the added factor of having Ryan Pace - the man who drafted Smith in the first place - in the front office. A former Bears employee and open fan of Smith’s, his presence is likely to have some sway. Lastly, there is the issue of cap space which the Falcons have. Will they take an All-Pro LB in his prime?

Baltimore Ravens

There are layers in this one. The Ravens recently used a first-round pick on Patrick Queen, who incidentally occupies the same position as Smith. With that, you might be wondering why they would then take on an established player with a high salary. That of course will depend on the rate at which Queen and Malik Harrison can form a partnership. Additionally, it will also hinge on something that the Ravens did terribly last season and that’s pass coverage. Should Smith be able to demonstrate that he’s improved in that area, a deal just might make sense. If nothing else, it can’t be denied that the opportunity to grab a talent of Smith’s level for the price tag in play, isn’t one that should be dismissed without careful consideration.

Denver Broncos

Were Smith to join the Broncos, one would have to call it an upgrade for the team. The talented LB would join a defensive core that includes Bradley Chubb on the front end and Patrick Surtain II in the defensive secondary, among others. With the newly signed Russell Wilson as QB, that sounds like a formidable team in the making and one that could reasonably make a challenge for a title. The factor that makes this scenario a little more complicated, is figuring out what the Broncos could offer in exchange for Smith. What we can say is that the Bears have a serious need in the WR department.

Los Angeles Chargers

Interestingly, the Chargers have already had dealings with Chicago this offseason, sending a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 sixth-round pick for All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack.  It goes without saying that the addition of Smith would be a brutal defense in the making with the likes of the aforementioned Mack and Joey Bosa on the roster. Where the team itself is concerned, Smith could imaginably step right in to the lineup. Add to that, the fact that Smith’s price tag is relatively low compared to other positions and it just seems to make sense.