How will the Bears handle Roquan Smith’s trade request? A couple weeks ago I wrote an article touching on this possibility, if interested you can find that here. So let’s discuss what the Bears should do and what the most likely outcomes are.
Ryan poles first test
The moment Poles took the job as Bears gm he knew this day would come. When I look at this situation from then until now, it seems like Poles may have had plans to trade Roquan all along. As soon as free agency hit Poles ran out and signed linebacker Nicholas Morrow immediately, who we assumed would play along side Smith, or possibly be Smith’s back up. Is it possible Morrow was signed to replace Smith? Poles certainly wasted no time signing him. Another smoking gun is the Smith says the Bears offers are no where close. Ryan Poles knows the market and around the price Smith wants and deserves. It’s his job to know that. So why insult a player with low ball offers you know he will refuse if you plan to retain his service?
Trading him is the right move
Bears fans won’t like this but trading him is the way to go. The NFL salary cap is a hair over 208 million dollars. Roquan is going to want in the neighborhood of 20 million a year. That means Roquan Smith alone will account for roughly nine percent of the teams salary cap. Yes he is one of the best linebackers in the league and is great at what he does, but is he worth that much money? What is it that he does exactly?
On the field Smith is a heat seeking missile, destroying ball carriers for a total of 524 tackles so far in his career, along with 43 tackles for loss. Those are great numbers. I’m sorry to say this, but that’s not enough. If you want to be the highest paid linebacker in the league you better find your inner Urlacher. I need three or four interceptions every year, five or more sacks, a handful of forced fumbles and fumble recoveries. With five career interceptions 14 sacks and just one forced fumble and fumble recovery a piece, Smith doesn’t do these things enough. Tackles and tackles for loss are great, but they aren’t game changing plays and he wants game changing money. It seems Ryan Poles agrees with me.
Poles has to show who’s the boss
Let’s say Poles doesn’t trade Roquan and decides to pay him. Well now you have put it into the players minds that they can strong arm you the moment they aren’t happy with their contract. By trading Smith you show you will not let players run things here and they should honor their contract. What if Justin Fields turns out to be the star we hope, and Darnell Mooney continues to ascend. If you pay those to two after paying Smith you will barley be able to field a team after those 3 contracts. Also you should get a pretty solid haul in return for Smith. Whether it be picks or players, Poles phone is ringing off the hook as I type with teams asking about Smith. When you sit down and really think about it trading Smith isn’t even a hard decision in my opinion.
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