The Cleveland Browns are not the only team dealing with drama this offseason. The Chicago Bears, in the midst of a change in regimes, joined the fray on Tuesday. Star LB Roquan Smith demanded a trade from the Bears after contract negotiations didn’t go the way he wanted.
For the Browns, a trade for Smith is highly unlikely. The team has invested in Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah for the long-term and values what Anthony Walker does for them at the position. Jacob Phillips has a chance to bounce back after injuries have limited him.
After the trade for QB Deshaun Watson, Cleveland also doesn’t have a lot of draft resources to spare either.
Smith still could be making his way to the AFC North, however. While the Cincinnati Bengals are being frugal with their star safety, they join the Browns as unlikely to pursue the Chicago linebacker.
On the other hand, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers may be in the market for a linebacker. Both teams have spent first-round draft picks at the position but have not gotten the performance they would have wanted from Patrick Queen and Devin Bush.
The Steelers already declined Bush’s fifth-year option.
Baltimore and Pittsburgh have been known to be aggressive, especially in building their defense. One analyst pegged the Ravens as the best fit:
I'd say the best overall team with significant off-ball LB concerns is the Ravens. Curious to see if they show interest in Roquan Smith. Broncos, Patriots, Dolphins also jump out.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) August 9, 2022
Smith’s situation will be interesting to monitor. The AFC has loaded up with quality quarterbacks so bringing in better defenders may be a requirement. The AFC North seems up in the air this year, any team adding Smith is likely to improve their chances in the division.
Stayed tuned to Bears Wire, our sister site, for everything related to Roquan Smith’s trade request.