Bears' Draft Picks and Free-Agency Cap Space After Roquan Smith Trade with Ravens

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVOctober 31, 2022

FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 24: Roquan Smith #58 of the Chicago Bears gives a speech in the team huddle prior to an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

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:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Both picks are in 2023, so the Bears now have added three picks in return for Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn. <a href="https://t.co/NgkdUttaVK">https://t.co/NgkdUttaVK</a>

Field Yates @FieldYates

Bears 2023 draft picks:<br>1st round (own)<br>2nd round (own)<br>2nd round (Ravens)<br>3rd round (own)<br>4th round (own)<br>4th round (Eagles)<br>5th round (own)<br>5th round (Ravens)<br>7th round (own)<br><br>Plus over $100M in salary cap space to upgrade the roster.

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:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Roquan Smith was owed $5.408 million for the rest of the season. As part of today’s trade agreement between Chicago and Baltimore, the Bears are paying Smith $4.833 million while the Ravens are paying him $575,000 for the rest of the season, per sources.

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.

JP Finlay @JPFinlayNBCS

Ravens not messing around. And on the opposite end, I think the Bears are smart. Not going anywhere and maximizing assets

Sam Monson @PFF_Sam

Bears cashing in on Roquan Smith is smart given where they are in this rebuild.<br><br>Last piece of significant value, and it makes no sense for them to commit big money to him given position and where the rest of the roster is.<br><br>Get what you can and use it for the future.

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.