‘Busy’ Bears Could Ship 2 Young Players to Cardinals, Trade for WR, Analyst Says

Ryan Poles

Getty General manager Ryan Poles of the Chicago Bears looks on at a preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

One analyst thinks the Chicago Bears could be active participants in the trade market before their first regular season contest against the San Francisco 49ers at Soldier Field on September 11.

Brad Spielberger of Pro Football Focus believes Chicago could still part ways with two promising young players: Roquan Smith and Teven Jenkins, both of whom have been the subject of trade rumors over the last month. Smith has requested a trade, while NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported on August 1 that the Bears have been fielding calls from teams interested in trading for Jenkins.

“The Chicago Bears could be busy before Week 1,” Spielberger wrote on August 17. He named the Arizona Cardinals a perfect fit for both Smith and Jenkins, and revealed what Chicago’s likely trade haul would be for both players if the team chooses to move on.

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Trade Value for Smith & Jenkins not Great

Spielberger named the Cardinals, Houston Texans, Washington Commanders and Pittsburgh Steelers as possible trade partners for Smith, and he has the 25-year-old linebacker’s trade value projected at a 2023 second-round pick coupled with a 2024 fifth-round pick. That’s not far from what Heavy’s NFL insider, Matt Lombardo, has been hearing.

“It could be tough for Chicago to recoup sufficient draft capital to justify a trade for a few reasons,” Spielberger noted. “First, the off-ball linebacker position has seen a devaluation across the league in recent years. And second, Smith is set to earn $9.735 million on his 2022 fifth-year option and any acquiring team would immediately have to make him the highest-paid player at his position, which would carry a price tag of at least $20 million per year.”

While trading the young LB away may be unlikely, “it seems Smith’s request is a very real one,” Spielberger added, so it’s a situation that bears watching. Spielberger also thinks a 2023 fourth-round pick may be the potential trade value for Jenkins, who has been getting looks with the starters at right guard.

A 2021 second-round pick for Chicago, Jenkins has yet to click with the new regime, and if he performs well in the preseason, the interest from other teams could grow.

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Bears Could Also Add WR Via Trade

After sending a 2024 seventh-round pick to the New England Patriots in exchange for wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who subsequently went down with a high ankle sprain that should keep him out for approximately eight weeks, Spielberger thinks it’s possible that the Bears might add another wide receiver via trade.

He could see the Bears sending a 2023 sixth-round pick to either the New York Giants for Darius Slayton or to the New York Jets for Denzel Mims.

A second-round pick for the Jets in 2020 (59th overall), the 6-foot-3, 207-pound Mims has played in 20 games over his first two seasons in New York, starting 11. He has 31 receptions for 490 yards no touchdowns.

The Giants chose Slayton in the fifth round (171st overall) in 2019, and he’s more experienced than Mims, playing in 43 games and starting 29. The 6-foot-1, 191-pound Slayton has 124 catches for 1,830 yards and 13 scores and might be worth taking a flier on for a Bears team with loads of uncertainty behind Darnell Mooney on the depth chart.

Will Chicago be as active as Spielberger thinks before the regular season kicks off? We will know soon enough.

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