The Seattle Seahawks have had some legends at the linebacker position over the last couple of decades. While those big names have left in recent seasons, general manager John Schneider has a shot at adding another All-Pro linebacker to the roster.
Speaking with NFL personnel across the league, ESPN NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler shared a handful of teams that execs believes would be a good trade partner for disgruntled All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith. The first team listed was the Seahawks, who multiple execs believed was the best possible trade fit.
“This is a team a few league execs mentioned this morning,” Fowler said. “Seattle’s defensive coaching staff has strong Chicago ties…Smith is well regarded as a player in Seattle, an organization that has shown willingness to make the splashy deal in the past. The Seahawks are armed with multiple first- and second-round picks next year as part of the Russell Wilson trade.”
Along with significant draft capital, the Seahawks also have cap flexibility with a projected $13.4 million in cap space. Smith is on the final year of his rookie deal, so the Seahawks could afford to bring him in if they wanted another starting linebacker.
Roquan Smith’s Football Career
Multiple NFL teams are likely making calls for the 25-year-old inside linebacker, because Smith has been a dominant force throughout his football career. Coming out of high school, Smith was a 4-star recruit and a top-50 player in the 2015 class before committing to play for the Georgia Bulldogs.
After playing in 12 games as a true freshman, Smith became a starter as a sophomore in 2016, leading the entire team with 95 total tackles. He stole the national spotlight in his final college season as a junior, racking up 137 combined tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 14 tackles for loss. He racked up the accolades as well, getting a first-team All-SEC selection, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and the Butkus Award winner for the nation’s best linebacker.
ALL the latest Seahawks news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Seahawks newsletter here!
As a dominant and explosive linebacker, Smith was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. Since being drafted by the Bears, Smith has been one of the best linebackers in the league, earning two second-team All-Pro selections in 2020 and 2021.
Over four NFL seasons, Smith has racked up 524 combined tackles, 14 sacks, 17 pass deflections, and five interceptions. As a productive off-ball linebacker, Smith will be generating plenty of interest if the Bears don’t give him a contract extension, whether that’s in a trade this season or as a free agent in 2023.
Do the Seahawks Need Another Linebacker?
With Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright no longer with the Seahawks, the team is looking for new talent at the linebacker position. Fans have high hopes for at least one linebacker, but could the Seahawks use another star at the position?
Third-year linebacker Jordyn Brooks is expected to have a big season. After leading the NFL in solo tackles last season, Brooks has now been asked to be the team’s defensive signal caller for 2022. The former first-round pick took a big step forward playing alongside Wagner last season, but now he’ll be asked to be the leader in the middle of the defense.
Cody Barton is expected to be the other starter alongside Brooks. The third-round pick in 2019 hasn’t had many opportunities to play after being behind Wagner, Wright, and Brooks on the depth chart, but 2022 could be his opportunity to prove himself.
If the Seahawks aren’t sold on Barton from what they’ve seen in training camp, then a trade for an All-Pro like Smith would make even more sense.