The Chicago Bears pulled off a stunner of a trade on Monday, sending star linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens for a pair of draft picks.
The Bears will receive Baltimore’s second and fifth-round draft picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. The will also receive linebacker A.J. Klein.
The news was first reported by Ian Rapaport of NFL Network.
The Bears have now traded two of their captains within the past week. Robert Quinn was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles for a fourth-round pick last Wednesday.
Smith was drafted by Ryan Pace out of Georgia with the eighth pick in the 2018 NFL draft and became both a standout on the field and a leader in the locker room. He often spoke of the Bears’ long history of great linebackers and his desire to join it.
He did, however, stage a holdout in training camp this summer and expressed his desire to become the league’s highest-paid linebacker and was seeking a record-setting deal in excess of $100 million. When that didn’t happen, he requested a trade on the morning of the team’s family day at Soldier Field.
Smith had an up-and-down 2022 season to this point, sealing the Houston win with a fourth-quarter interception but struggling in other games. The Bears defense gave up 440 yards to the Cowboys on Sunday, losing the game 49-29.
Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles was facing a decision on whether or not to open up his wallet and cut Smith a big check or deal with the drama of the franchise tag.
With this decision, it becomes clear that Poles would rather build another way.