Roquan Smith likely to be franchise tagged if the Bears don’t trade him this week

An update on likely trade scenarios throughout the NFL has Roquan Smith possibly being dealt this week.

Roquan Smith is actively being shopped by the Chicago Bears.  The fifth-year linebacker has multiple teams interested in bringing him aboard before the November 1st trade dead line.  But if Smith isn’t traded, he’s likely to receive the franchise tag.

After Chicago traded Robert Quinn, eating most of his salary ($7.1 million) to get a fourth-round pick, all eyes turned to Chicago’s all-world linebacker. But Smith is different from Quinn. He is younger (25) and on a cheaper contract, and there remains the possibility he’s a part of the Bears’ future. Playing on the fifth-year option, Smith could be franchise tagged after this season, which seems like a strong possibility if no trade happens this week. But there is some interest and if Chicago wants to avoid the tag drama with a player who already has held in at training camp once, a trade would make sense to a few, select teams with a specific need.

Franchising Smith would likely alienate him from the Bears even further, but it would also give Smith a chance to test the market to see what his true value in free agency will be.  Smith plays a not-so-premium position as an off-the-ball coverage linebacker who doesn’t make as many impact plays as some of his contemporaries.

I envision that if the Bears can’t come to an agreement to trade Smith that this will likely play out just like the Lance Briggs situation more than a decade ago.  Briggs was given the franchise tag and then hit free agency to test the market.  Ultimately Briggs came back to Chicago because the Bears offered him the most money and he was most valuable to their scheme.

Roquan Smith is very similar in his play and his importance within a very similar type of defense that Briggs played in.  Smith is also likely to find that the current contract offer on the table from the Bears is more than any other team is willing to offer.

UItimately, there isn’t much to worry about here because we’ve been down this road before with many other Bears players who wind up back in Chicago with the Bears.  Briggs, and Matt Forte are prime examples of players who have had similar contract disputes who wind up coming back and having an impact with the Bears.

The same likely goes for Roquan Smith, he’ll go out and test the market, because hasn’t been able to up to this point, and when he does he’ll find Chicago pays their premier players fair market value.

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