While there is still half of the 2022 season remaining, there is much reason to be looking forward to the coming offseason. These Chicago Bears are developing more and more of a plan and vision as the days go by, and fans should feel hopeful.
The trade deadline has passed and saw the Bears make a handful of moves. All the talk, recently, has been about Ryan Poles going out and making a splash by trading for former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool.
This move signaled the fact that Poles is, indeed, committed to Justin Fields as his quarterback — as he should be. The offense is improving under Fields, who has had a couple of breakout games in a row, and fans are thrilled to see it happening right before their eyes.
But, aside from being a buyer with Claypool, Poles and the Bears were also big-time sellers at the deadline, trading both Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith for a few draft picks, total. Smith, in particular, will be leaving a big hole to fill. Trading Smith now leaves a notable need for the Bears in 2023.
The Chicago Bears will be able to replace Roquan Smith, and the fan base will realize why he was not worth the money in the end.
The Bears were never going to pay Smith upwards of $20 million annually. The first bit of evidence as to why this will all be O.K. In the end? The Dallas Cowboys dropped 49 points on the Bears last Sunday — a game in which Smith played.
If Smith didn’t play, the Bears still give up 49 points, regardless.
In Matt Eberflus’ and Alan Williams’ defense, Smith was never going to be valued. This is a system predicated on the front four, first and foremost. So, that’s an area the team will address next offseason. But, it’s also built upon the secondary being able to take advantage of errant throws and quarterbacks not having time to throw.
So, where do linebackers come into play, here? This defense simply needs guys who are able to do their job, without making many mistakes. That’s it. The pass rush is number one, with the secondary being number two.
Now, replacing Smith shouldn’t be a big deal. There are a lot of different options, especially in the draft. But, let’s take a look at a variety of avenues the Bears could take in doing so, starting with a trade.