Now that Roquan Smith has demanded a trade the flurry of what if trade scenarios are pouring in from all corners of the NFL landscape. Fans, writers, personalities all have a trade they envision. Trading Roquan Smith won’t be easy. There are three major hurdles for a potential Smith trade.
The Bears Need To Agree
The first and frankly easiest hurdle is the Bears need to agree to trade Smith. Even though he has asked for a trade and has bashed the new Poles Administration that doesn’t mean all is lost. Players who have asked for trades many times end up resigning with the team they asked to be traded from. The most recent example is Deebo Samuel. Samuel asked for a trade after his relationship with the 49ers appeared broken. Instead of being traded he just signed a new three year deal worth up to $73.5M. This happened because the 49ers rejected his trade demand and got the deal done. The same can happen with Smith and the Bears.
The next hurdle is what is the value the Bears would need to move Smith. Most Bears fans are convinced a first round pick would need to be involved, but would a team be willing to pay that price. A few issues need to be considered. The linebacker position is being devalued in the current NFL landscape. Teams don’t see it as a position that needs a superstar. Instead teams are putting major contracts toward edge rushers and corners on the defensive side of the ball. Second, just like the Khalil Mack trade and other trades this offseason a discount will be looked for to compensate the trading team for taking on a large salary cap hit for many years to come. These two issues will drag on Smith’s trade value
An Extension Needs To Be Agreed To
Smith will not play another down of football until he has a new contract. That means any team wanting to trade for Smith will need to also agree to an extension before a trade can be finalized. Most Bears fans think the team is cheap and won’t pay Smith what he is worth. Poles in a surprise news conference after Family Fest hinted at what was offered. Poles said parts of the deal offered to Smith are record setting. Its unclear what parts of the deal he is referencing since exact details are unknown, but it does suggest that the Bears offered a deal near the top of the market. Maybe not number one but at least near it. Some reports indicate Smith wants to be the highest paid linebacker. Shaquille Leonard (formerly Darius Leonard) of the Colts is currently the highest paid linebacker with a 5 year $98.5M contract. Some reports indicate Smith wants a 5 year contract worth somewhere around $105M. Any trading team would need to match Smith’s salary demands. As mentioned linebacker is a position being devalued so the question is how many teams would be willing to meet Smith’s high salary aspirations?
Everyone Take A Breath
Trading Smith isn’t as easy as it sounds. Not only do the Bears have to agree to trade him they’ll need their value expectations met against the backdrop of a falling linebacker market. Also teams will need to come to an extension agreement with Smith probably making him the highest paid linebacker in the league. Smith has been routinely undervalued over his career. He hasn’t made a pro bowl or been voted as a first team all pro. Now a league that has never valued Smith as one of the best will need to actually open their wallets and pay him as the best linebacker if they want him on their roster. That may be too big of an ask. Roquan Smith may in the end be traded and find a team willing to meet his demands. Another possibility is this is a negotiating tactic done by Smith to force a deal. Either way with the season fast approaching Smith likely wants this issue resolved so he can get back on the field for the Chicago Bears or another team.
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