‘Bold’ Trade Prediction Gives Bears Top Weapon ‘Straight Up’ for Roquan Smith

Dalton Schultz

Getty Dalton Schultz of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates a touchdown with CeeDee Lamb.

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles and linebacker Roquan Smith have tabled all talks about a potential contract extension, with both sides now essentially saying the same thing.

“I’m not focused on that, if I’m being completely honest,” Smith said on August 31 when asked about the situation. “I’m just focused on having the best year I can with my teammates and going out and playing the game I love. That’s what means the most to me.”

Poles echoed Smith’s thoughts.

“I think Roquan, he said it perfectly — we’ve shifted gears and it’s all ball now,” Poles said when speaking with the media on August 31. “So it really doesn’t make sense to go back and go through all that. He doesn’t get enough credit for being able to change gears like that and going out and just playing football and doing it the right way. I’m proud of him for handling it that way. And he’s out there and we’re better because of that.”

After asking for a trade on August 9, Smith decided to end his “hold-in” just 11 days later and re-join team practices, referring to negotiations with Poles as “distasteful to say the least.” This topsy-turvy dynamic between Smith and Poles has some analysts still thinking the Bears could trade the 25-year-old linebacker.

New Trade Proposal Swaps Smith for Cowboys TE

Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski has a “bold” trade proposal he thinks would give the Bears a much-needed weapon on offense while also giving Smith a fresh start somewhere else.

Smith is due $9.7 million this year, and Sobleski thinks the Dallas Cowboys would be a perfect trade partner for the young linebacker.

“The Dallas Cowboys aren’t necessarily in a position to add another major contract based on their long-term investments at multiple key positions, but they’re one of the few teams that highly value the linebacker position,” Sobleski wrote, adding: “Smith and Micah Parsons could form a devastating duo. Perhaps the Bears and Cowboys would consider just flipping Smith and Dalton Schultz outright. Chicago needs more weapons and the tandem of Schultz and Cole Kmet could be quite effective out of 12 personnel.”

The Bears could certainly utilize a two-TE set often if they’d like in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy’s scheme, which is heavy on the outside zone running game. A one-two punch at tight end featuring Kmet and Schultz paired with wide receiver Darnell Mooney would give the Bears some definite pass-catching threats, but this is one trade that seems far from likely.

Bears Likely Aren’t Trading Smith

Schultz was a fourth-round pick (137th overall) for the Cowboys in 2018, and after two relatively quiet seasons in 2018 and 2019, he became a prominent member of the Cowboys offense.

In 2020, Schultz played in all 16 games, starting 14. He caught 63 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns and followed that up with an even better campaign in 2021. The 6-foot-5, 244-pound TE finished with career-highs in receptions (78), yardage (808) and touchdowns (8) last year, and he established himself as a legit red zone threat:

While there’s little doubt Schultz would make the Bears offense better, and the Bears could certainly afford to ink him to an extension if they were to trade for him, the likelihood Poles will trade Smith doesn’t seem high, particularly after his recent comments about the young LB.

“He’s a good dude,” Poles said about Smith on August 31. “I have faith that he’s going to have a good year and we’ll work on our relationship and all that. It’s not even a bad thing, either. We’ve all been there, right? You have disagreements and you have to come back together and be teammates. That’s what I expect.”

Will reality mirror Poles’ expectations? We’ll know soon enough. But don’t expect Poles to trade Smith unless something catastrophic between the two happens prior to the trade deadline on November 1.

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