NFL

Roquan Smith trades grades to Ravens, Bears: Baltimore acquires two All-Pro defensive tackles

Roquan Smith trades grades to Ravens, Bears: Baltimore acquires two All-Pro defensive tackles

The Baltimore Ravens are negotiating for Chicago bones two-time All-Pro contributor Roquan SmithCBS Sports NFL this has been confirmed by experts Jonathan Jones and Josina Anderson. The Bears will receive second- and fifth-round picks, along with linebacker AJ Klein, in return. Smith is the second high-profile linebacker dealt by the Bears in the past week, just before the NFL trade deadline (Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET), after Chicago traded running back Robert Quinn to the Eagles .

Smith, the eighth overall pick in 2018 NFL draft, has recorded 83 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions this season. Over four seasons, the Georgia product has only missed four games. The former SEC Defensive Player of the Year has been a playmaker since coming into the league, racking up more than 600 tackles, 16.5 sacks, one forced fumble, seven interceptions and one touchdown.

The 25-year-old is in the final year of his rookie contract and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Spotrac.com projects an average annual salary of $17.6 million, which would be second-highest among active off-ball contributors; a high price to pay for the position.

When a question arose about the status of contract negotiations during the preseason, first-year general manager Ryan Poles had this to say: via ChicagoBears.com:

“I think he’s a very good football player. I love the kid. I love what he’s done on the field, which makes me very disappointed with where we’re at right now. I thought we’d be in a better situation , to be completely honest with you… That said, we can’t lose sight of the fact that this is not a player. My job is to build a roster that sustains success over a long period of time. At the end of the day, we have to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears.”

Baltimore sits atop the AFC North standings with a 5-3 record. Smith joins a group that includes former first-round pick Patrick Queen, as well as Josh Bynes, AJ Klein and Malik Harrison.

With Smith out of the picture, the Bears are left with young linebackers Sterling Weatherford and Jack Sanborn, as well as free agent signing Nicholas Morrow.

The Bears sent Quinn to Philadelphia last week in exchange for draft compensation. News of the Quinn trade was given to Smith during his own media availability, which caused raw emotion. Poles stockpile reserve capital during their first year of employment. Chicago fell to 3-5 on the year with a loss to Dallas over the weekend.

Trade Grades: Ravens B+, Bears B-

The Ravens certainly have a playmaker on a defense that has turned things around in recent weeks. Smith leads the NFL with 83 tackles and always has a knack for finding the football, with two interceptions and 2.5 sacks on the year. Not only has Smith recorded double-digit tackles in all but two games this season, he has more than 100 tackles in all four NFL seasons, and his 246 tackles are fourth-most in the NFL.

Josh Bynes has been reliable for the Ravens since his return last year, but Baltimore needs a playmaking linebacker at MIKE to pair with Patrick Queen. If the Ravens can sign Smith to a long-term deal it will validate this trade, but Baltimore is doing it.

As for the Bears, getting a second- and fifth-round pick, along with Klein, is part of their rebuild. Chicago got three draft picks in exchange for Smith and Robert Quinn. They will have a first, two second, a third, two fourths, two fifths and a seventh in the 2023 draft. The rebuild is underway.

— Jeff Kerr





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