The Chicago Bears are in quite a predicament thanks to some news that dropped earlier this week.
Bears linebacker Roquan Smith publicly requested a trade due to a contract dispute with Chicago’s front office.
Smith is set to play this season on his fifth-year option, but he understandably wants some long-term security. So far, he hasn’t been able to find common ground with general manager Ryan Poles.
I think this eventually gets worked out. Smith is an extremely popular player in the locker room and he’s a key part of the Bears’ defense. It would be a surprise to see him traded.
But at the same time, this is a new front office and we don’t know how they’ll handle this situation. They didn’t draft Smith and they don’t have the same connection to him that the previous front office had. And if he’s not part of the vision that Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus share, then it’s easy to see how he could be traded.
So if Chicago surprises everyone and trades Smith, what should the Bears expect to receive in return?
According to Pro Football Network’s Mike Kaye, they could get a couple of solid draft picks in a deal for Smith.
With all that said, A.J. Brown was in a similar situation with the Tennessee Titans, and the Philadelphia Eagles happily traded first- and third-round picks to Nashville for him. The Eagles then signed Brown to a four-year, $100 million contract extension. Wideout is a much more valued position, so the Bears won’t get a similar return. Yet, a package of a second-round pick and a fifth-round selection might make sense.
Poles has been loading up on draft picks and future salary cap space this offseason, which is why I can see a scenario where Smith isn’t in Chicago this season.
But I still think that Smith actually being dealt is a longshot. Despite the rebuild plans, I think Poles knows how important Smith is to the locker room. And that means more than a couple of extra draft picks next year.
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