The Chicago Bears are already in a rebuild and they may be losing one of their best players. All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade from the Bears on Tuesday.
Smith is in the final year of his rookie contract and is due for a big payday in the offseason. Given the Bears’ situation, the request makes sense.
Could the another rebuilding team in the NFC North look to trade for Smith?
TJ Lang and Jon Jansen discussed the possibility of the Detroit Lions exploring a trade for Smith on Audacy’s Necessary Roughness with Lang & Jansen podcast.
“I think you have to,” Lang said (1:25 in player above). “Any time a player of his stature becomes available you at least have to inquire. A guy who’s still young, going into his fifth-year looking for an extension.”
The guys mentioned that linebacker is one of the weaker spots on the Lions. At the same time, a linebacker – even one of the best in the league – probably wouldn’t be enough to push the Lions to the next level.
There are layers to a possible trade as well.
“Is this a guy that you’re going to be able to re-sign? Does he want to come to Detroit? Is Chicago going to trade him to a division rival? You have to think about all those things as well,” Lang said. “But if you’re Brad Holmes, I mean look, you at least in my mind have to pick up the phone and make a call.”
The Lions general manager preaches patiences, but sometimes players become available via trade that wouldn’t be on the market in free agency.
“If you actually are able to come to an understanding and say ‘Look, we’ll give you this first-round pick or maybe the second-round pick, but we have to know that he’s willing to sign with us, we’re going to offer him a long-term extension,’ I wouldn’t have a problem with that,” Lang said. “But that would have to be the deal. You can’t give up a high pick, especially if you’re a team like Detroit that’s not ready to win right now. You’re not gonna waste a high-round pick on a guy that’s gonna help you for one year.”
The Lions have bulked up the defensive line in recent drafts, including Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick this year, but they haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first five rounds since selecting Jahlani Tavai 43rd overall in 2019.
Detroit could help fill that gap with a trade for Smith.
“You look at He’s still a relatively young player, he’s only been in the NFL for four years, and if you can spend right now – let’s just say the Rams pick is 28 next year – and you’re guaranteed to get an All-Pro linebacker, I think people would be pretty damn happy with that.”