The NFL Trade Deadline just delivered a bombshell deal: The Chicago Bears are trading star linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
Roquan Smith Traded to Ravens
UPDATE — It’s officially official:
Holy. Cow. WHAT!?
We woke up Sunday morning and began discussing a hypothetical Roquan trade, as reports popped up that multiple teams were interested in cutting a deal. However, we weren’t all too sure which teams would make the most sense. And even if we could find a trade partner, we wondered if they’d be willing to cough up enough draft capital to make it worthwhile for first-year Bears GM Ryan Poles. After all, this is a team leader and fan favorite we’re talking about here. As it turns out the answer to both of those questions is yes. The Bears found a trade partner in a Ravens team that had off-ball linebacker on their shopping list. And the Ravens appear to be the team willing to give up the goods for a player of Roquan’s caliber.
I’m not sure if second- and fifth-round picks are the best return the Bears could’ve gotten for Smith. The 25-year-old linebacker has been on the verge of garnering Pro Bowl status and has gotten some down-ballot All-Pro nods. But he was set to become a free agent after this season. And after an unsavory offseason of negotiations, it was fair to wonder if there were bridges burned — thus making a trade best for both parties. There will be more fallout. We’ll be discussing shortly.
UPDATE (3:10 p.m. CT) — The trade grows! Chicago is reportedly getting Ravens linebacker A.J. Klein as part of the deal:
Klein, 31, was a Panthers fifth-round pick in 2013 who has bounced around the league spending time in Carolina, New Orleans, Buffalo, and – this year – Baltimore. The Iowa State product hasn’t been an impact defender since 2020 (16 games, 11 starts, 5 sacks, 75 tackles, 9 QB Hits, 5 TFL). But he doesn’t need to be that for these Bears. For now, Klein is a place-filler. More as details present themselves.
UPDATE 2 (3:31 p.m. CT) —
The Bears didn’t even have to eat any salary, per Rap Sheet:
Poles had to take on some money in order to get a decent return in the Quinn trade. Receiving a solid return in trade for Roquan *AND* not eating salary in the process is quite the finesse job.
UPDATE 3 (3:52 p.m. CT) — It appears we’re getting some clarity on the salary eating front:
Even still … eating that salary still leaves the Bears in a good place as far as coming out on the positive end of any trade grades. The juice is still worth the squeeze.
UPDATE 4 (4:15 p.m. CT) — Details on a pick swap:
Well, that’s a fun little wrinkle.