It looks like Roquan Smith’s tenure with the Chicago Bears is coming to an end. The two-time Second-Team All-Pro recently announced his trade request, desiring to leave the Bears. The divorce seems to be rooted in contract disputes as the two sides could not come to terms on a new contract. Certainly, there will be a team that will find the cash necessary to employ a player of Smith’s caliber. As Smith pursues a new NFL home, there’s no better time for the sports world to discuss what locations could be a great match. With that being said, let’s discuss the best potential landing spots for the star linebacker.
1- Denver Broncos
If Denver’s defense has a weakness, it would be the linebacking core. However, if Roquan Smith came to town, that weakness could easily transform into a strength. The Broncos defense will officially enter a new era this season without Vic Fangio on the sidelines. An addition like Smith could bring valuable experience to a squad that has multiple young contributors. While Smith could add some experience, he will still have plenty left in the tank as he is only 25 years old and entering his fifth NFL season. In Denver, Smith could join a fellow 2018 NFL Draft pick, Josey Jewell, at middle linebacker. Previously, the Broncos had Alexander Johnson in a similar role, but the former contributor is currently unsigned.
A defensive core of Bradley Chubb, Patrick Surtain II, Randy Gregory, Justin Simmons, and Roquan Smith would be among the best in the league. Overall, another splash move like acquiring Smith may be what Denver needs to give them an edge over their talented division rivals. Not to mention, a combination of Jewell and Smith would be a fun duo to watch on Sundays.
Aside from the fact that Smith went to high school only a couple of hours outside of Atlanta and attended the University of Georgia, there are a few things that could ultimately make this pairing a good one. To start, Smith was drafted by former Bears general manager Ryan Pace in 2018. Obviously, Pace is no longer with the Bears after he was fired alongside Matt Nagy earlier this year, but Pace was hired weeks later by Atlanta to be a senior personnel executive. If any front office is going to have a voice advocating for Smith, it’s the front office that contains the man who drafted him eighth overall only a few years ago.
The Falcons look like they are in a complete rebuild, but that shouldn’t discourage them from adding Smith. The 25-year-old is in the middle of his prime and could be a cornerstone piece to build around on the defensive side of the ball. Atlanta shouldn’t be shy to add any foundational pieces with its current roster. Smith seems to be an athlete that both rebuilding teams and playoff contenders should want to add. After all, it’s not often elite players become available this early into their career.
3- Tennessee Titans
First things first, the AFC South will be won on the ground as the division features both Derrick Henry and Jonathon Taylor. Luckily for the Titans, they’ll only need to stop one of those stars with Henry belonging to their squad. Unlike the Colts, the Titans do not have a dominant linebacker on their roster to neutralize opposing rushing attacks like Shaquille Leonard. It makes sense that the Titans would want to construct something similar to help strengthen their defense as a whole.
Currently, Tennessee’s biggest name at middle linebacker is Zach Cunningham. Cunningham has been effective against the run, but an addition of Smith would take the Titans’ defense further in the right direction. However, if Tennessee was not eager to pay star receiver A.J. Brown, they may not be inclined to pay a linebacker. The fit would be ideal as long as the Titans would be willing to pay Smith. It’ll be interesting to see how much interest the Titans show over the next few weeks. From where things sit today, there’s no reason outside of money for the Titans to not pursue the former first-round pick.