When the Minnesota Vikings narrowed their general manager search to two names in January, Ryan Poles and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah were the last men standing. Poles chose the Chicago Bears, and the Vikings signed on the dotted line with Adofo-Mensah.
Thank God the Vikings chose the Cleveland Browns executive.
Poles’ early tenure in Chicago became a little weirder on Tuesday when star linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade. Smith, a former eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, is on deck to be the latest departure from the Bears in a general mass exodus of prominent players.
Via Twitter and NFL Network, Smith addressed the alleged headstrong nature of dealing with the Bears front office, “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith. Every step of this journey has been ‘take it or leave it.’ The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself and for the entire LB market if I signed it.”
Smith still loves the city and fans, though, elaborating on the trade request, “I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city. However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table.”
The Bears defender oddly encountered a poor season in 2021, perhaps one of the reasons Poles isn’t in a hurry to offer a long-term deal. Smith’s 47.8 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2021 ranked 62nd among 87 qualifying off-ball linebackers — in the bottom 30% of the NFL. Regardless, Smith is a tackling machine, ranking third in the league per total tackles since 2018. Only Bobby Wagner and Darius Leonard have more tackles than Smith in the last four seasons.
The possible loss of Smith hits amid an offseason when multiple notable Bears have left the franchise. Here’s the list:
- Artie Burns (CB, Seahawks)
- James Daniels (OG, Steelers)
- Tashaun Gipson (FS, Unsigned)
- Marquise Goodwin (WR, Seahawks)
- Eddie Goldman (DT, Falcons)
- Jimmy Graham (TE, Unsigned)
- Akiem Hicks (DL, Buccaneers)
- Khalil Mack (EDGE, Chargers)
- Bilal Nichols (DE, Raiders)
- Jason Peters (LT, Unsigned)
- Allen Robinson (WR, Rams)
- Danny Trevathan (LB, Unsigned)
It is unclear what trade capital will be necessary to land Smith. The Houston Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Washington Commanders are among teams perhaps needing an upgrade at linebacker.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).