The last week or so has been a whirlwind for the Chicago Bears and their fans. They picked up an impressive victory on the road over the New England Patriots to wrap up Week 7 action. Days later, they traded veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles. That trade left linebacker Roquan Smith feeling very emotional during his press conference discussing it. Alas, Smith wouldn’t end up being in Chicago very long himself. After losing to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 8, the Bears continued their rebuild, trading Smith to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for linebacker A.J. Klein with second and fifth-round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
While trading away arguably the two best players on their team will certainly hurt, this is likely in the best long-term interest of the franchise. The Bears’ roster needs a lot of work and they will have the assets to turn things around quickly during the 2023 offseason. They began that process ahead of the deadline, acquiring wide receiver Chase Claypool from the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a second-round pick.
As for Baltimore, they have to be ecstatic about having a player of Smith’s caliber joining the roster. Their defense has been underwhelming this season and now they are adding the league’s leading tackler to the mix.
In addition to being all over the field, Smith has made excellent progress in pass coverage as well. He is a true three-down linebacker now, providing Baltimore with a star to insert into the second level of their defense.
There are some questions about how the front office will handle this beyond the 2022 season. Smith is set to hit free agency in 2023 as he is playing out the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. But, as Eric Edholm of NFL.com stated, this was well worth the risk involved.
“But if Smith can upgrade this defense down the stretch, it might turn out a hit. Smith’s blitzing and coverage ability set him apart, and the Ravens have been a few defensive stops away from being 8-0. This is an upgrade over what Baltimore has at the position now.”
Baltimore’s once-vaunted defense has been a sieve at points this season. In their three losses, they have trailed for a grand total of 1:57 seconds. As Edholm stated, they are quite literally three stops away from joining the Eagles as being undefeated this season.
With a dominant run game, this offense is doing enough to hang with the elite teams in the NFL. With Roquan Smith now added to the mix defensively, the Ravens have a chance to improve to that level on that side of the ball as well.