Analyst Wants ‘Fun’ Reunion for Bears Star & Khalil Mack

Khalil Mack

Getty Khalil Mack has settled in nicely with the Chargers.

The NFL’s trade deadline is approaching in less than two weeks, and the Chicago Bears will likely be neither buyers or sellers, although rumors are picking up that they’re shopping veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn.

Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post reported on October 19 that the Bears are going to explore trading their 2021 sack leader. “Multiple NFL executives (speaking on the condition of anonymity because they are not permitted to discuss players on other rosters) told me Quinn is indeed being shopped around with the trade deadline a few weeks away,” La Canfora wrote.

Quinn may not net much of a return for the Bears, though. After amassing 18.5 sacks and 22 QB hits last year, he’s off to a slow start this season, netting just one sack and two quarterback hits through the first six games.

Considering the Bears may not get much draft capital in return for the 32-year-old Quinn, some analysts are pushing the Bears to trade a younger defensive asset: linebacker Roquan Smith.

Roquan Smith & Khalil Mack Reunion?

Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report pitched a trade suggestion on October 17: The Bears should send the 25-year-old Smith to the Los Angeles Chargers, where he’d be reunited with pass rusher Khalil Mack.

“The Chargers rank dead last in yards per rush allowed (5.8) and could desperately use a playmaker like Smith to bolster their 30th-ranked scoring defense,” Knox wrote. “L.A. has $6.3 million in cap space available and wouldn’t have to create much space to absorb the remainder of Smith’s $9.7 million base salary.”

Mack and Smith played together in Chicago for three years, from 2018 until 2021, and both are off to solid starts so far this season. Considering Bears general manager Ryan Poles has done business with the Chargers before, when he sent Mack there in March of 2022, Knox thinks Poles and L.A.’s GM Tom Telesco might be able to negotiate a Smith trade before the deadline on November 1.

“Los Angeles also seems to have a good working relationship with Chicago general manager Ryan Poles, who dealt Khalil Mack to L.A. in the offseason,” Knox added. “Seeing Smith and Mack on the field together would be fun, and it would make for a great change of scenery for the Chicago linebacker.”

Roquan Smith May Be Bears’ Best Trade Chip

If the Bears fall to 2-5 against the New England Patriots, it’s possible Poles shops Smith and/or Quinn, but the Bears GM has been quiet since getting hired in January, making only frugal and minor moves. Dealing Smith at this point would be a surprise, but that doesn’t mean he won’t do it.

Smith is looking for a big-money deal after this season ends, and while the Bears could always slap the franchise tag on him in 2023, anything is possible at this point. A trade is the least likely scenario. Poles might be able to get a few Day 2-3 picks, potentially more if a team is interested enough.

Through six games this season, Smith leads the league in total tackles (66). He also has 1.5 sacks, an interception, three tackles-for-loss and two QB hits.

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