Broncos Listed as Potential Fit for All-Pro LB


Getty Denver Broncos GM George Paton speaks during the NFL combine.

The Denver Broncos could make another big trade.

On August 9, linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade from the Chicago Bears.

On Twitter, Smith made a statement on the situation.

“Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote. “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. 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.”

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Broncos Listed as Fit for Roquan Smith

ESPN’s Mike Clay listed the Broncos, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, and Miami Dolphins as logical fits for Smith.

On paper, the Broncos are a great fit for Smith. Inside linebacker remains of the team’s biggest needs. Josey Jewell is locked into one starting spot, but the other spot remains uncertain. At the moment, Alex Singleton, Jonas Griffith, Justin Strnad, Kana’i Mauga, and Barrington Wade are their current options.

Smith is a two-time second-team All-Pro (2020, 2021). Since entering the league in 2018, he has recorded an astounding 524 combined tackles, which is the third-most in the NFL during that span (Bobby Wagner, Darius Leonard).

Smith is also reliable in pass coverage. Last season, he was targeted 66 times in coverage, and he allowed a passer rating of 76.8, which was well below the league average of 90.8. In 2020, he was even more impressive, as he gave up a passer rating of only 59.6.

Over the last three seasons, Smith has four interceptions, and he has allowed zero touchdowns in pass coverage.

At age 25, Smith projects to remain a defensive force for years to come. He would further boost the Broncos’ title odds.

Can the Broncos Acquire Smith?

The Broncos have $7.885 million in estimated cap space (top 51) per Spotrac, and Smith carries a cap hit of $9.735 million. So, the front office will have to free up around $2 million in additional cap space.

There are some moves that the Broncos can make. Releasing defensive tackle Mike Purcell would save $3.573 million. Restructuring Ronald Darby’s contract could also free up approximately $4.2 million.

What will be the Bears’ asking price for Smith? As a premier player in his prime, Smith should command a large return. Conversely, he does not play a premium position. Will teams be willing to part with a first-round pick for an inside linebacker? A second-round pick seems more realistic.

Unfortunately, the Broncos can only offer a 2024 second-round pick due to the Russell Wilson trade. So, other teams should be able to offer the Bears a more compelling package.

Smith would be a great addition for the Broncos, but due to his value, a trade appears to be a long shot.

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