NFL analyst claims the Bears should trade Roquan Smith originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Roquan Smith fiasco has quickly tumbled into a nightmare for the Chicago Bears front office.
All seemed fine and well at Halas Hall. Smith was conducting a casual, nothing-to-worry-about "hold in" while the negotiations between him and the new regime continued.
In a heartbeat, Smith delivered a two-page note claiming the Bears have handled his negotiations poorly and not in "good faith." He pulled on Bears fans' heart strings by mentioning the past linebacker legends, claiming he wanted to join them. Smith ended the note with a cry for help from the McCaskey family and saying he doesn't see a "path back" to the team.
The Bears fired back by claiming they offered him record-breaking parts of a contract that would be competitive with the deals Smith's counterparts, Fred Warner and Shaquille Leonard, signed with their respective teams. The front office and coaching staff have repeated their desire to keep Smith. They already designated him the WILL linebacker for head coach Matt Eberflus' 4-3 defense.
As the situation gets uglier and nastier by the day, the Bears have to consider giving Smith what he wants, according to one NFL analyst.
"It is time to do what the Warriors did and pivot off a really good player who's got a market," NFL analyst Colin Cowherd said.
Cowherd compares the Smith situation to the Monta Ellis-Steph Curry situation back in 2012. In a move to commit to their young guard (Curry), the Warriors traded Ellis to the Bucks in return for Andrew Bogut. Ellis had requested a trade from the Warriors and the team needed frontcourt help. Hence, the trade for Bogut from Ellis.
In comparison, the Bears need everything-offense help. The Bears lack wide receivers, an offensive line and potentially a running back if David Montgomery and the Bears can't make a deal next offseason. The focus and money need to switch over to the offense in Cowherd's eyes.
Cowherd makes the argument the Bears need to concentrate on building around quarterback Justin Fields. He claims the NFL is heading into a quarterback mindset with offensive-driven goals. In his eyes, giving Smith $20 million per year would be a mistake. The Bears should use Smith as bait to help rebuild their poorly constructed offense.
"The Bears are broken. Stuck in the past. Too much 1975 football ideology," Cowherd said. "The game is changing. This is the moment. Pivot."
The Bears have the most leverage in Smith's situation. Smith is under contract for next season with $9.7 million to his name. The team has not allowed Smith permission to seek out a trade from the league. The linebacker already got in trouble by having an uncertified agent contact other teams in hopes of constructing a trade behind the scenes.
While the team has leverage, some issues arise with trying to trade Smith. The market for inside linebackers is niche. It's a position not a lot of teams rely on to have star players. Some game changers get paid, like Leonard and Warner. But others, like Zach Cunningham and C.J Mosely, are left with average NFL contracts. The trade value for Smith is likely worse than a first-round pick, considering his position's demand and the idea that any team who wants him will have to pay him $20 million per year.
Nevertheless, Cowherd urges the Bears to cut their losses and focus on offense.
"This is your Monta Ellis-Steph Curry moment. Be the Warriors, not the Bears," Cowherd said.
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