The Chicago Bears are stocking up on picks for the 2023 draft.
After trading veteran defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles last week and star linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday ahead of the Nov. 1 deadline, the Bears have accumulated an impressive amount of draft capital:
The Bears are also set to have incredible flexibility from a financial perspective next season, with a long-term deal for Smith now off the table. Per Spotrac, they are projected to have around $121.7 million in cap space. While their draft picks will eat into that figure, it still will allow them to be aggressive in free agency if they choose to go that route.
The Bears aren't going to see much of a change to their 2022 payroll bill, however:
It's clear the 3-5 Bears are embracing a full rebuild around young quarterback Justin Fields, with first-year head coach Matt Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles being given the draft equity to put their own stamp on the team.
That process began this offseason, when the Bears traded superstar edge-rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers. And it's continued in earnest ahead of Tuesday's 4 p.m. ET trade deadline.
Ian Wharton @NFLFilmStudy
Bears have done a great job getting assets back for their guys. Sucks to lose Roquan but it was clear they didn't want to pay him.<br><br>Ravens got better today at the cost of tomorrow. Their defense will be fun to watch with him though. <a href="https://t.co/3Br9mallGT">https://t.co/3Br9mallGT</a>
Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli
I love Roquan Smith, and the Bears defense is going to fall further off the cliff without him. But he's an off-ball linebacker, and that's not something worth investing major money into in today's NFL. So getting two picks for him when you were likely letting him walk is good.
Granted, accumulating draft assets is great in theory but can fall flat if you don't make the correct selections. Players like Smith don't grow on trees.
But it's clear Chicago isn't ready to contend, and committing big money to Smith wouldn't have fit the team's timeline. From that perspective, dealing him now rather than risking the possibility of losing him in free agency for nothing made sense.
The Bears certainly have the assets and financial flexibility to dramatically rebuild their roster this offseason.