Trade Roquan Smith – Why Ravens, Bears Made the Deal, What’s Next

Trade Roquan Smith – Why Ravens, Bears Made the Deal, What’s Next

That Baltimore Ravens filled a gap in the middle of their defense, and the Chicago Bears get more help to build for the future.

On Monday, the Ravens took over as the NFL’s leading tackler Roquan Smith, confirmed a source. A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Ravens are sending the Bears a second-round and fifth-round pick for Smith, a two-time All-Pro inside linebacker, in 2023. As part of the trade, the Ravens sent linebackers AJ Klein to Chicago, and the Bears rake in $4.833 million from Smith’s $5.408 million for the remainder of the season, a source told Schefter.

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET, and the bears have been busy after also trading the defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philly Eagles On Wednesday. How will the moves affect the Rebuild franchise? And does Smith think the Ravens are all in to contend for a title?

ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley, Bears reporter Courtney Cronin, NFL analyst Matt Bowen and NFL draft analyst Matt Miller answer the seven biggest questions about trading.

Why did the Ravens make the deal?

Smith offers the Ravens their best playmaker and manager at center since Ray Lewis. He is one of two players with at least 500 tackles and 15 sacks in the last five seasons (Shaquille Leonard is the other). The center of defense was Baltimore’s biggest gap — and it has remained that way ever since CJ Mosley left after the 2018 season — which is why the Ravens tried to sign Bobby Wagner in free agency last March. Josh Bynes, who has started in midfield for the past two seasons, has been battered this season and has shown signs of slowing down, particularly in passing. The Ravens have conceded the third most yards after catch (784) on passes thrown less than 5 yards down. – Hensley

Does that mean the Ravens are all in to win a championship?

Not exactly, unless Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta also trades ahead of Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline for a wide receiver. This trade, however, marks a big step toward capturing Baltimore’s first championship in a decade.

There’s no question that the Ravens’ defense is talented. Baltimore has 10 defenders drafted in the first or second round. But the reason the Ravens are 5-3 and not 8-0 is because their defense suffered three meltdowns in the fourth quarter.

Baltimore desperately needed a young emotional leader like Smith who could step up and play at the most critical of times. This is the third trade deadline deal for DeCosta. He met cornerback Markus Peters in 2019 and missed pass rushers Yannick Ngakoue in 2020. Smith looks like a bargain for a second- and fifth-round pick, and the Ravens wouldn’t have made that deal if they weren’t very confident they’d sign him for an extension (rather than signing him as a would purchase a three-month contract). Rental). – Hensley

Why did the bears make the deal?

The Bears are rebuilding, and it’s clear that first-year general manager Ryan Poles isn’t afraid to make moves that require short-term sacrifices. The Poles sent veteran defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, and he traded Smith to the Ravens five days later.

After failing to agree on a contract extension this offseason, resulting in Smith publicly calling for a trade on Aug. 9, the linebacker ended his hold-in and backed himself by betting his 9.7 million bucks. Played dollar option for the fifth year. He, too, got off to a great start, leading the NFL with 83 tackles while recording 2.5 sacks and two interceptions in eight games.

As Smith’s stock continued to rise, so did the possibility that Chicago used the franchise tag for the linebacker during the offseason, which could have caused further problems between the player and the front office. The two teams haven’t been close this summer, and it’s hard to imagine the Bears wanting to spend over $20 million a year on Smith to reinvigorate the off-ball linebacker market when their focus is clearly that designed to build up on offense. Since the day he was hired, Poles has been adamant that he will build by design. Chicago now has nine draft picks to do that in 2023, including additional picks for the second and fourth rounds (two each) thanks to Quinn and Smith’s trades. – Cronins

What does this mean for bear defense?

Poles and Bears head coach Matt Eberflus has been in lockstep since the two were hired in January. Quinn and Smith’s move comes only if Eberflus gives his blessing, even if it means the Bears’ defense takes a step back in the short term.

But let’s get something straight. The Bears gave up 49 points in Dallas on Sunday With blacksmith That’s something to keep in mind now that two of Chicago’s best veteran defenders have gone. The Bears’ defensive talent gap won’t be fixed in one season, but the next nine games will give Chicago an opportunity to evaluate young defenders who are stepping into new roles, beginning with rookie linebackers Sterling Weatherford and Jack Sanborn.

With all of the tips they’ve compiled and a cap spot of over $120 million in 2023, the Bears have ample resources to fill the gap that starts in defense looking for pass rushers . – Cronins

How does Smith fit into the Ravens defense?

With the physical qualities to play all three downs, the Ravens are a great match for Smith’s strengths. Smith can function as a versatile defender in coordinator Mike Macdonald’s system and plug holes in the running game. Look for him to collect tackles, cover and carry, and get ahead in Baltimore’s pressure plans. (He has 16.5 career sacks.) Smith has the chasing speed and disruptive ability to create impact plays as a stack backer in Baltimore. The Ravens have allowed opponents to get first downs on 27.4% of their rushes, which ranks 26th in the league. You’d better be on the field with Smith. – Bowen

What are the Bears’ biggest draft needs right now?

With their first-round picks likely at the top of the board (expected to be No. 8 on ESPN’s Football Power Index) and now two second-round picks, the Bears will need to focus on addressing the left attacking stance as the 2023 draft begins. Beginner Braxton-Jones has been decent, as his pass-block win rate (89.7%) ranks second among rookie tackles, but he’s conceded nine sacks this season — the second-highest behind only Indianapolis’ Matt Pryor (10). It’s not the long-term answer. of the state of Ohio Paris Johnson Jr. fits what the team needs and could be in play for Day 1 for Chicago.

In Round 2, look for the Bears to add a potential starter at wide receiver while looking for Smith’s backup at linebacker. If he falls out of the first round after a poor season, he becomes an LSU receiver Kayshon Boutte would be perfect as a larger pass catcher to pair with Darnell Mooney. – Mueller

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