LAKE FOREST — During the middle of Roquan Smith’s press conference on Wednesday, it was reported that the Chicago Bears were trading Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick. 

When Smith was asked about the trade, all he could say was that “it sucks” and that he has “a great deal of respect for that guy” before having to take a moment to collect himself. Smith then grabbed his orange Bears t-shirt and pulled it over his face and then walked out of the press conference room. 

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, “the Bears will be picking up most of the remaining salary” on Quinn’s contract.

Robert Quinn trade analysis

Quinn, 32, has played in all seven games this season but has only registered one sack, which came in the Week 2 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He also saw a dip in defensive snaps after the Week 5 matchup with the Minnesota Vikings, when he played 50 snaps. Against Washington and New England he played 68 total defensive snaps. 

Last season, Quinn broke the Bears’ single-season sack record and finished his second year in Chicago with 18.5 sacks. 

The trade not only gives general manager Ryan Poles another draft pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but the move also allows some of the younger players along the defensive line to get more snaps. 

Third-year player Trevis Gipson should see an uptick in his playing time. Through seven games he has played 197 defensive snaps – 107 less than Quinn. Also fifth-round draft pick Dominique Robinson will be on the field more. On Monday night against the Patriots, Robinson drew several penalties against left tackle Trent Brown and got his hand on a pass that was intercepted by Smith. 

“And on the business side, it just made too much sense for what we’re trying to do,” Poles said on Wednesday. “It’s going to allow us to continue to build a highly competitive roster. I think the other thing too on the business side and really the football side is I just really trust Gipson, Muhammad, Dom Robinson, Kingsley Jonathan. Those guys are going to continue to do a good job.”

Everyone knows the NFL is a business, but it will be interesting to see how the locker room handles the news, especially since coach Matt Eberflus named Quinn one of four season-long captains. 

“I’ve hit on this before. Obviously, part of the tough thing with this job and the position are the tough decisions you have to make,” Poles said. “I almost feel like there’s the emotional side, the human part of it that you know you’re affecting not only a man but his family. You’re kind of shaking that all up and I don’t take that lightly at all and I’m sensitive to that. You also know that you’re tweaking the fibers of your locker room, and that’s a big deal too. He meant a lot to that locker room, but I’m fully confident that the guys, especially on the defensive side—the Jaylon Johnsons, the Eddie Jacksons, the Roquan Smiths, Justin Jones—those guys are going to continue to hold it down and be leaders on that defense and help us continue to perform.”

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Nicholas Moreano is the Bears beat reporter for CHGO Bears. He has a master's degree in Communication from DePaul University and obtained his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Iowa.