Bears Send All-Pro to AFC Contender in Blockbuster Trade, Get LB in Return

Roquan Smith

Getty Former Bears LB Roquan Smith has been traded to the Ravens.

In a stunning move on Halloween, the Chicago Bears are sending two-time second-team All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.

According to Rapoport, the Bears are getting a future second-round pick in addition to a fifth-rounder in exchange for Smith, 25.

Smith currently leads the NFL in total tackles (83) and he has also amassed four tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions (stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference). He is widely regarded as one of the best young linebackers in the NFL, but he has made it clear he wants to be paid as such, and it’s equally clear that Chicago’s first year general manager, Ryan Poles, didn’t want to pony up $18 million to $20 million a year for an inside linebacker.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus met with the media shortly before Smith’s trade was reported and said that both Poles and assistant general manager Ian Cunningham were “working their tails off” at the trade deadline, and it’s clear Eberflus wasn’t joking.

According to NFL insider Josina Anderson, the Bears are also getting linebacker A.J. Klein in addition to draft capital in exchange for Smith:

Twitter Has Strong Reaction to Roquan Smith Trade

The reactions to the Smith trade on Bears Twitter were varied, but generally favorable.

The majority of analysts credited Poles for trading Smith now, as opposed to keeping him around until the offseason if he had no intention of inking him to an extension.

Former NFL tight end Clay Harbor pointed out that the Ravens are getting Smith for only half a season, making the draft haul Poles got for Smith “a hell of a deal.”

Poles also traded Pro Bowl pass rusher Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, and some are wondering whether the first-year GM will continue the fire sale.

Perhaps the most ringing endorsement of the trade came courtesy of PFF’s Brad Spielberger, who called the Bears the “winners” of the NFL’s trade deadline.

What Do Bears’ 2023 Draft Picks Look Like After Roquan Smith Trade?

After dealing both Quinn and Smith away to contenders, the Bears now have nine draft picks set for 2023, in addition to the most salary cap space in the NFL by far ($121 million, per Over the Cap). The Bears will have a selection in Round 1, and they will now pick twice in Rounds 2, 4 and 5, as well. Ari Meirov of Pro Football Focus laid out Chicago’s 2023 draft picks nicely:

Poles and the Bears didn’t have a first-round pick in 2022, and it’s clear he wants to load up on draft capital for his second draft in Chicago, where it’s expected he’ll try to address issues on both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as at wide receiver. He can now add inside linebacker to that list, as well.

The Bears did get Klein in the trade, but he isn’t anywhere close to the caliber of Smith. A 10-year NFL veteran, Klein has played in two games for the Ravens this year, starting one. Over his career, the 31-year-old linebacker has appeared in 136 games (86 starts) and has accumulated 454 total tackles (44 for loss), 27 QB hits, eight forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, four interceptions and 15.5 sacks.

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