Bears' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2022 Training Camp

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxCorrespondent IJuly 4, 2022

Bears' Top Trade Candidates Ahead of 2022 Training Camp

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    The Chicago Bears are not going to contend in 2022. That's a reality that their fans will have to accept heading into the season. The Bears play in a tough division, are starting over with a new front office, have a largely unproven quarterback in Justin Fields and have some glaring weaknesses on the roster.

    Receiver depth is lacking, to say the least, and an offensive line that surrendered 58 sacks in 2021 remains an area of concern.

    There are reasons for optimism about the future, though. Head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles represent a fresh start. Fields showed flashes as a rookie and may finally be Chicago's long-coveted franchise quarterback. Players like Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet and David Montgomery appear to be long-term building blocks for the franchise.

    This year is going to be a transition year, though, and it wouldn't be a shock to see Chicago add to its rebuilding capital with a trade or two. Which players might the Bears consider moving heading into training camp? Below, we'll examine the three most likely and most logical candidates based on factors like player performance, contract status age and roster makeup.

QB Trevor Siemian

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    Chicago signed quarterback Trevor Siemian to a two-year, $4 million contract this offseason, and he projects as a long-term insurance policy behind Fields—he takes over the role held by Nick Foles.

    This was a smart move, as Fields was sacked 36 times in 12 games last season and missed time with ankle and rib injuries. Yet, the Bears can and should consider moving Siemian if the right situation presents itself. That situation would involve a playoff-caliber team losing its starter for the season.

    Siemian has quite a bit of starting experience. He's started 29 games since 2015 and even posted an 8-6 record with the Denver Broncos in 2016. He would be far from the worst option out there and would cost significantly less than other trade candidates like Baker Mayfield and Jimmy Garoppolo.

    If a team was desperate enough, Chicago could likely pry a middle-round pick out of a Siemian trade.

    This would leave Chicago with Nathan Peterman as its insurance option, which isn't ideal. However, this season is about rebuilding, not contending, and the plan is to not rely on a backup and to allow Fields to grow through a full 17-game slate.

LB Roquan Smith

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    Before you get angry, Bears fans, hear me out. Linebacker Roquan Smith is absolutely the sort of defender Chicago should build around long-term. He's one of the league's most underrated linebackers and was arguably one of the Pro Bowl's biggest snubs in 2021.

    Smith finished last season with 163 tackles, three sacks, 12 tackles for loss and an interception.

    However, the 25-year-old is also set to play on the fifth-year option in 2022, and if he doesn't receive a contract extension soon, he could be on his way out the door in 2023.

    While Chicago has $20.2 million in cap space available—fourth-most in the NFL—an extension isn't going to come cheap. Do the Bears want to invest heavily in Smith now when the playoffs may still be two or three years away?

    If the Bears are on the fence, you can bet that another contender would love to have Smith in its lineup. A trade could potentially net Chicago a second- or even a first-round pick in return—provided Smith is willing to sign an extension with his new team.

    That's something Chicago would have to heavily consider. A lot would depend on how confident the Bears are that they can keep Smith beyond this season. Smith has said that he wants to stay in Chicago, but if the Bears aren't so sure, the Georgia product would be a valuable trade asset.

Edge Robert Quinn

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    Pass-rusher Robert Quinn is the most logical trade candidate on the Bears roster. He was extremely productive in 2021, finishing with 18.5 sacks and 49 tackles. However, he reportedly also wants out of Chicago.

    "I continue to hear that Quinn wants out of Chicago—and who could blame him?—and there are a host of interested teams," CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora wrote in late May. "Bears brass has told everyone he ain't going anywhere, but they will keep asking and that's not lost on the veteran defensive end."

    Given Quinn's 2021 performance, teams would undoubtedly give up a lot to acquire him. We're talking potentially for a first-round pick or a high-level starter at a different position. For the rebuilding Bears, that could be tough to pass.

    Chicago already showed that it is willing to part with star talent this offseason when it sent Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. That move brought in second- and sixth-round draft picks. At this point in the offseason, Quinn could potentially bring more.

    The added draft capital would give a boost to the rebuilding process, and a down season or injury in 2022 could massively impact Quinn's market value.

    Contract and cap information via Spotrac.


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