The Ravens and Bears kicked off trade-deadline week with a doozy.
Baltimore acquired linebacker Roquan Smith for second- and fifth-round draft picks and linebacker A.J. Klein. So, after negotiations broke down for a contract extension, the Bears flipped Smith for future capital to help their rebuild.
The Ravens obtained:
• LB Roquan Smith
The Bears obtained:
• 2023 second-round draft choose
• 2023 fifth-round draft choose
• LB A.J. Klein
Why they made the transfer
Smith leads the NFL with 83 tackles, together with 4 for loss, and he has 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and three cross breakups. The solely linebacker within the league with a number of picks and sacks, Smith has been productive in a number of sides and will additional excel with the Ravens’ usually aggressive defensive scheme.
The Ravens are ranked twentieth in factors allowed and twenty fifth in yards allowed, and so they wanted a lift. The uncharacteristically common protection can partly be attributed to coordinator Wink Martindale’s departure, however their statistical rankings have been comparable in 2021.
It’s additionally evident the Ravens view Smith as a part of their long-term plans, based mostly on the compensation. A protection headlined by Smith, Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen, Odafe Oweh, Marcus Peters and Kyle Hamilton ought to have stout potential.
Trade grade (Ravens): Incomplete
If the Ravens prolong Smith at an inexpensive price, this commerce may attain B-plus/A-minus territory. However, Smith was believed to be asking for almost $20 million yearly over the summer season.
Can the Ravens persuade him to take much less by providing a extra direct path to the playoffs than Smith noticed in Chicago? Even if Smith exams the market and realizes that cash isn’t on the market, a return to Baltimore must be seen as a victory.
Or will Smith — as is his proper — use his leverage and command high greenback? Players perceive groups have an urgency to maintain a participant long-term after giving up a high quality asset akin to a second-round draft choose.
If the Ravens solely have Smith as a half-season rental and don’t win the Super Bowl, there must be some purchaser’s regret, until Smith helps them yield a third-round compensatory choose in 2024.
Trade grade (Bears): A-minus
The Bears are nonetheless within the early phases of a difficult rebuild, and it will go towards standard considering on this period to construct a roster round one of many league’s highest-paid inside linebackers.
Their quickest path again to the playoffs can be creating Fields, who has proven flashes of star potential however fairly frankly doesn’t have sufficient assist round him.
The Bears is likely to be able to draft one of the best offensive participant (non-quarterback division) in 2023, and the pair of second-rounders may also be helpful in the event that they hit. Plus, they’re projected to have about $110 million in cap house, to allow them to turn out to be main gamers in free company.
The writing has been on the wall with Smith. He most likely wasn’t staying in Chicago past this season. Even if the Bears discovered themselves within the playoff race, their ceiling would have been restricted. Moving Smith will assist the rebuild if they will hit on their high quality draft picks.
(Photo: Cooper Neill / Getty Images)