Ravens listed as the top landing spot for a LB Roquan Smith trade

Ravens, Roquan Smith Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Roquan Smith Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens could be set to make a big splash prior to the start of the 2022 season in the form of Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith. At least, that’s what many analysts seem to be suggesting.

Smith officially requested a trade from the Bears on Monday, and while the organization insists that they have no plans to trade him, they may not have a choice.

The 25-year-old is set to be a free agent at the end of the season and has all the leverage over the Bears’ front office. It’s either they pay him what he believes he’s worth, let him walk for a measly compensatory pick in free agenct, or they adhere to his wishes and trade him.

If they do, the Ravens could be one of the teams interested in acquiring the talented young linebacker.

Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports recently listed the Ravens as the top potential landing spot for Smirh if he’s traded. Given the need the Ravens have at the linebacker position, it makes some sense.

"“32-year-old Josh Bynes is currently in line to be the team’s starting middle linebacker after starting 12 games for them last year and re-signing with the club this offseason. Smith not only would be an instant upgrade, but he’d be an answer for them for the foreseeable future.As an aside, Smith could also pick up the mantle left by Ray Lewis and be Baltimore’s next great middle linebacker, which is in a similar vein to what he enjoyed about playing in Chicago with their long history of linebackers. However, the Ravens would need to massage their books to make this work under the salary cap.”"

Would the Ravens actually trade for Roquan Smith?

On the surface, pairing the 25-year-old Smith with fellow young linebacker Patrick Queen makes a lot of sense. Queen showed signs of improvement in 2021, but he still hasn’t proven to be the long-term answer at the position.

Alongside Queen is returning veteran Josh Bynes. At 32 years old, Bynes certainly isn’t a long-term solution, but he did prove last year that he still has something left in the tank.

The Ravens could use some help, though, and Smith certainly fits the bill of a player who would be tailor-made for their defense. That said, there are other factors to consider.

Trading for Smith would not only mean that the Ravens have to give up assets, likely in the form of draft picks, but it would also mean that the team would have to pay top dollar for a player at a non-premium position.

Off-ball linebacker contracts, in particular, have aged rather poorly in recent years. Big-money contracts handed out to the likes of Deion Jones, Kwon Alexander, Jaylon Smith, Myles Jack, and Zach Cunningham all look like mistakes in hindsight.

Such is the case with a position as volatile as linebacker. Smith’s history indicates that his deal could follow a similar trajectory with his inconsistent play over the first four years of his career.

Ultimately, this doesn’t feel like a move the Ravens would make. They’re already in a tight cap situation with Lamar Jackson’s contract situation still looming. Paying an off-ball linebacker $15-18 million per year just doesn’t make a ton of sense.

Next. 3 trade packages the Ravens could offer for star LB Roquan Smith. dark

The fit is there and general manager Eric DeCosta has never been one to shy away from high-profile acquisitions, but this still feels like a long shot to me.