Roquan Smith Traded to Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 8 - The Baltimore Ravens have acquired Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith via trade, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The Bears will receive a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick in 2023 from Baltimore, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.  

Smith currently leads the league in combined tackles with 83, his 52 solo tackles eclipsing all but three Chicago Bears players' combined tackles. Since 2018, only Bobby Wagner has more tackles than Smith. 

Smith announced his desire to be traded back in August, releasing a letter that claimed the new Bears front office did not appreciate him and were negotiating his current contract extension in bad faith.  The Bears were able to avoid a holdout and facilitate Smith's return to play, but today's news honors Smith's original request.

This marks the second trade by the Bears flipping defensive players for assets. Chicago also traded Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles on October 26 for a fourth-round pick.

Comments

24 comments, Last at 01 Nov 2022, 7:32pm

#1 by Pat // Oct 31, 2022 - 4:47pm

Same deal as with Quinn, the Bears are apparently covering his salary. Smith has more value than Quinn, though, since his contract terminates. He'll likely return a 4th next year effectively. (Even if the Ravens resign him, he still partially 'returns' something because he no longer costs on the formula, and the Ravens are likely to acquire fewer players than they lose).

Assuming the Ravens make the playoffs (not a given!) that roughly is something like a mid-round third, net, for a partial-year rental. High, not crazy high though.

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#2 by Aaron Brooks G… // Oct 31, 2022 - 4:50pm

Interesting the Bears are shedding defense guys.

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#3 by Dan // Oct 31, 2022 - 4:58pm

This is a nice return for the Bears, who were probably going to let him walk at the end of the season anyways.

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#4 by theslothook // Oct 31, 2022 - 6:07pm

Letting talented players go to me is not wise team building. Ok he was going to get more expensive and I don't quite know how great Smith is, but hes one of their better defenders and it just makes the rebuild process even more onerous. The niners could have taken a similar tact by dumping Patrick Willis and Joe Stayley back in 2009 when the team looked like they were going nowhere. Instead they were vital cogs in multiple seasons that saw them get to three straight NFC championship games and a chance to win the SB. 

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#5 by theslothook // Oct 31, 2022 - 6:07pm

Letting talented players go to me is not wise team building. Ok he was going to get more expensive and I don't quite know how great Smith is, but hes one of their better defenders and it just makes the rebuild process even more onerous. The niners could have taken a similar tact by dumping Patrick Willis and Joe Stayley back in 2009 when the team looked like they were going nowhere. Instead they were vital cogs in multiple seasons that saw them get to three straight NFC championship games and a chance to win the SB. 

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#6 by dmb // Oct 31, 2022 - 6:26pm

Agreed. I've also felt like the "treadmill of mediocrity" is a concept that applies much more to the NBA than the NFL because in the former, individual players have an outsized impact and the marginal drop-off in pick value is so large from one pick to the next.

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#7 by KnotMe // Oct 31, 2022 - 7:03pm

I would assume this is maybe bc he didn't want to be there as well as the money thing. (i.e. if they want to shed money, pick the guy who wants to leave anyway)

It's probably the hardest part of the front office job...picking which guys to resign.  Maybe they thought he would command more than he is worth?

 

 

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#9 by theslothook // Oct 31, 2022 - 8:58pm

I'm always fascinated by the NBA and the NFL draft wise. In a way, they are more similar than people realize in the sense that a QB can completely alter your trajectory much like an NBA superstar can. Is Giannis antetokounmpo more valuable than Patrick Mahomes? At first blush, the answer seems like it's yes, but then remember that Giannis is going up against other players who are similarly impactful to their franchises trajectory.

That's when you realize the relative scarcity when it comes to quarterbacks as compared to elite NBA superstars. At any one time there are maybe five to six QBs who are true difference makers.

In the NBA I can name at least 9 to 10 players who can be the best player on a championship team. So in that sense, tanking makes more sense for the NBA because your odds of landing that player are higher than in the NfL.

On the other hand, the NBA has a lottery system so tanking guarantees you nothing in a way the NFL tank and guarantees you something.

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#10 by BigRichie // Oct 31, 2022 - 10:21pm

Slot, imo you credit QBs with a heckuva lotta stuff the other 21 players (a bit more, factoring in special teams) are actually accomplishing. imo

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#16 by Aaron Brooks G… // Nov 01, 2022 - 8:56am

Tom Brady seems really important until you realize the reason the Bucs stink this year is because their guards suck now.

Two guys you couldn't even name.

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#17 by JimZipCode // Nov 01, 2022 - 10:29am

At any one time there are maybe five to six QBs who are true difference makers.
In the NBA I can name at least 9 to 10 players who can be the best player on a championship team.

I'm not sure you're right about this.  Winning championships without the single focal-point star seems to happen much more often in the NFL than in the NBA.  For example, neither Joe Flacco nor Russ Wilson were thought of as among the five-to-six difference-makers, the key piece to championship teams, before they won in '12 and '13.  Wilson nearly won a second time in '14.

The only team I can think of in the entire history of the NBA that won without one or two MVP/HOF types anchoring the lineup, was the 2004 Pistons of Larry Brown, Rip Hamilton, Chauncy, Ben Wa, Tayshaun et al. Literally every other NBA champion had one or two (or many!) MVP/HOF -caliber players starting.

I'm gonna say that NO quarterback, not even Mahomes or prime Steve Young or prime Marino, is as impactful/dominating as prime Lebron or prime Jordan.  The great basketball players control the whole game.  There's very little in basketball that's similar to "rushing plays" where they're not involved; an occasional fast-break, maybe.  The basketball players also play both ways, which is major.  Lebron is grabbing defensive rebounds; Jordan was Defensive Player of the Year one time, and getting votes other times.

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#19 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 10:51am

Probably one of the hardest decisions is who to build around.  The Ravens have a really tough one this year although I think they end up keeping him bc there is a decent chance. 

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#20 by theslothook // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:25am

OK so, let me try to flush out my argument a bit. But first, I can name another champion that fits the 2004 Pistons and that is the 2014 Spurs, a team that had multiple HOFers but none who were playing like HOFers at that particular time.

OK so yes, LeBron and MJ impact the game more than any single QB could ever do. That is unquestionably true. However, their competition also does as well. Really, the point is about the relative 0 sum nature of it.

A machine gun is a better weapon to have than a samurai sword. But if my opponent is armed with AK47 and I with an M16, versus a situation where I have the sword and they wield a dagger,  just who has the advantage in this situation? It doesn't matter that the gun is mightier than the sword in absolute terms when the battle is always pitted in relative terms. That's why the scarcity of such players is the point to emphasize here.

Now, yes winning a sb is highly dependent upon the overall team talent. But that also is in part the result of the playoffs being small sample sized. 

Really, this gets back to the long term sustained winning formula. Outside of Baltimore, the only teams who achieve long term sustained winning are teams with difference makers at qb.

Again, it's Mahomes and Allen whereas in the NBA,  it's Durant, Luka, Embiid, Kawhi, Curry, Giannis, Morant, Lebron, Jokic, and maybe more.

Let's pose it this way. Who has a better chance of winning a championship going forward; Allen and Mahomes or any one of the names listed above. Insane as it sounds, I have a better feeling that Allen will crack through than Luka precisely because Luka is pitted against many more players almost as good as he is as compared to Allen who has edge over anyone but Mahomes. That's exactly 1 player. 

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#14 by BJR // Nov 01, 2022 - 5:47am

The current Eagles are another example of how quickly things can turn around by retaining/paying key veteran players, rather than going 'full rebuild'. 

Edit: I tend to be cynical about these things. I guess that front office regimes are often only too happy to undergo 'full rebuilds' because it buys them time and job security. Bears don't win another game this season? "Hey, we aren't trying to win now! Let's see where we are in 2024!"

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#18 by KnotMe // Nov 01, 2022 - 10:47am

The thing is, sometimes that strategy makes you the eagles....sometimes it make you the Vikings. How often do we see teams not rebuild when they should?(say, NE or the Colts for obvious ones). 

Player evaluation(and development) is key and well, nobody is THAT good at it.  I think that is more important than any picks vs vets strategy. 

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#21 by BJR // Nov 01, 2022 - 11:26am

Well the Vikings aren't anybody's idea of a powerhouse, but they are almost certainly going to the playoffs (as division winners). The conversation could sound different come late January.

Each situation obviously has it's own nuances but, in general, the NFL isn't predictable enough to tear down a middling/good team in hopes of creating something better (IMO). The only way to guarantee an every-year contender is to possess an elite QB who, as we know, are quite hard to come by. 

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#22 by theslothook // Nov 01, 2022 - 12:18pm

The New York Giants, even during the regular season in 07, could have looked at their team as inevitably hitting a dead end and cut bait like the Bears are doing.

We sort of judge these things entirely with the benefit of hindsight.

Were Smith tradeable for a first rounder, I'd be more amenable. But late 2nd rounders are extremely low value especially when you've stripped your foundations to the studs.

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#8 by ImNewAroundThe… // Oct 31, 2022 - 7:53pm

Received:

  • NKeal Harry (UFA 2023)
  • 2022 2nd (Jaquan Brisker)
  • 2023 2nd (think Brisker or Kyler Gordon type)
  • 2023 4th
  • 2023 5th (think Braxton Jones or Dominique Robinson type)
  • 2023 6th (think Zachary Thomas, Trestan Ebner or Doug Karmer type)
  • $33,315,277 --> 42,475,277 dead this season
  • $8,475,000 dead next season

Given:

  • Khalil Mack (UFA 2025)
  • Robert Quinn (UFA 2025)
  • Roquan Smith (UFA 2023)
  • 2024 7th (think Andrew Stueber type)

Bonus PFF grades for all 5 players this year:

  • Harry - 59.3 (NA) --> 62 (NA)
  • Brisker - 71.5 (27th/87 S) --> 70.5 (25th/86 S)
  • Mack - 80.3 (20th/112 ED) --> same (17th/116 ED)
  • Quinn - 43.8 (109th/112 ED) --> 41.9 (113th/116 ED)
  • Smith - 50.8 (67th/80 LB)

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#11 by BigRichie // Oct 31, 2022 - 10:25pm

Honest question. As in, sincerely 'thank you' for tracking and sharing that. But iyo ('your' instead of 'mine') what does it mean/add up to?

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#13 by ImNewAroundThe… // Oct 31, 2022 - 11:25pm

Seems like they're not trying this year. 

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#15 by Mike B. In Va // Nov 01, 2022 - 8:34am

I could have told you that from watching the games that I've suffered through. ;)

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#23 by BigRichie // Nov 01, 2022 - 1:47pm

Do you think they've gotten good value, low value or fair value?

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#12 by dmb // Oct 31, 2022 - 10:53pm

I've been puzzling over this all evening and I think I've figured out how this went down. Here's a dramatic reenactment, Tanier-style (but less good):

Ryan Poles: Hello, and thanks for calling the Chicago Fire Sale, a.k.a Da Bears. What strikes your fancy today?

Eric DeCosta: Hi, do you have any premium receivers available?

Poles: Ummmmmm... we've got someone who is, uh, pretty good after the catch!

DeCosta: Intriguing! Tell me more.

Poles: Well, he was a second-team AP All-Pro each of the past two seasons. He's on an expiring deal and you can have him for this special one-time offer of second- and fifth-round picks.

DeCosta: Sounds great, you've got a deal!

Poles: Perfect. No takesies-backsies!

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#24 by jheidelberg // Nov 01, 2022 - 7:32pm

This move is so not Ravens, trading a 2nd and a 5th for 1/2 of a season of a player that is not likely to put the team over the top. The team normally stockpiles picks, not trade them away.  This is not a 2021 LA Rams move.  Although an excellent inside linebacker, Smith is an inside linebacker.  The current Ravens regime seems to love players at non-premium positions.  Yes, the Ravens will get a 3rd round compensatory pick if Smith leaves after the season, but I just do not see this as a good move.

Patrick Queen, a first round pick is no star, but he has improved vastly over the last 4-5 games, I have no idea what the Ravens plans are for him.

An improved pass rush and a wide receiver are what is needed here.

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