Trading Roquan Smith Makes No Sense

Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions.

What are the benefits to trading Roquan Smith vs. compensatory draft pick formula if the Bears let him walk in free agency? — @sfgore

Well, trading him before the deadline would get the Bears a draft pick in 2023. A compensatory pick for losing Smith in free agency — which would not be guaranteed if GM Ryan Poles is a big spender in free agency next year — would not come until 2024. I doubt the Bears will entertain the idea of trading Smith in the next few weeks. Offloading their best player would make it very difficult to sell the idea of culture in the locker room for the remainder of the season. The players need to feel like the team is doing everything it can to win every week. Dealing away Smith for a draft pick would make it clear the team is not doing everything it can to win now, and that would create a stir in the locker room.

This might not make sense to everyone, but this dynamic is real and I would wish coach Matt Eberflus good luck in selling a message that players need to bust their butts every day if the team were to trade Smith. Why not see how Smith evolves in this scheme, which is still new to him, and consider your options at the end of the season, when the Bears will have cap space and cash? It’s not like they have a linebacker ready to step into his place.

It doesn’t make sense to me for the Bears to trade Smith before the trade deadline unless they are absolutely sure that he is not part of their plans for the future. In my mind, what that means is a completely performance-based judgment. You don’t make that move because you’re not sure you can sign him in the offseason.

The Bears can franchise Smith next year. If they do that, they have a choice of coming up closer to his price to come to a deal or to seek to trade him. If they can get a third round pick from a team that’s willing to meet Smith’s price at the same time, they’ve already won. The highest compensatory pick you can get is a third rounder. And as Biggs points out, if the Bears spend in free agency, they might not get any pick at all, let alone the maximum.

I see no reason to be in a rush to trade Smith away now you’re absolutely positive that you don’t want to resign him anyway. Otherwise, its worth waiting to see how negotiations go and if you trade him then, you may well get the same compensation or better in the offseason.

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