Ravens acquire NFL’s top tackler Smith
Roquan Smith, the NFL’s top tackler, was acquired by the Ravens on Monday, a source said. Smith, a two-time All-Pro inside linebacker, will be traded by the Ravens to the Bears for a second- and a fifth-round selection in 2023, a source informed ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to a source who spoke with Schefter, the Ravens traded linebacker A.J. Klein to Chicago as part of the deal, and the Bears will take on $4.833 million of Smith’s $5.408 million remaining on his contract for the remainder of the year. Ravens acquire NFL’s top tackler Smith
After also dealing defensive end Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles on Wednesday, the Bears have been active ahead of the NFL trade deadline on Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET. How will the changes affect the franchise that is rebuilding? Does Smith intend for the Ravens to go all-in on winning the championship?
The seven most pressing inquiries about the deal are addressed by ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley, Bears writer Courtney Cronin, NFL analyst Matt Bowen, NFL Insider Jeremy Fowler, and NFL draught expert Matt Miller.
Why did the Ravens make the deal?
Since Ray Lewis left the Ravens, Smith is the centre who can make plays and lead his team. He is one of just two players over the previous five seasons with at least 500 tackles and 15 sacks (Shaquille Leonard is the other). Since C.J. Mosley left after the 2018 season, the middle of the defence has been Baltimore’s largest need, which is why the Ravens attempted to acquire Bobby Wagner in free agency in March. Due to injuries this season, Josh Bynes, who has started in the middle for the last two seasons, has exhibited symptoms of slowing down, particularly in the passing game.
Josh Bynes struggled, and Patrick Queen didn’t live up to first-round expectations, so Baltimore has long been trying to improve to an inside linebacker. Bobby Wagner, a free agent who chose to join with the Los Angeles Rams in late March, came very close to playing for the Ravens. In the NFL since 2018, Smith, 25, has recorded 606 tackles, which is second only to Wagner (656). Ravens acquire NFL’s top tackler Smith
Does this mean the Ravens are all-in to win a championship?
Not quite, unless Eric DeCosta, the general manager of the Ravens, also makes a wide receiver transaction before Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. However, this deal does mark a significant step in Baltimore’s quest to win its first title in ten years.
Without a doubt, the Ravens’ defence is strong. 10 of Baltimore’s defenders were selected in the first or second round of the draught. But the Ravens’ defence had three fourth-quarter collapses, which is why they are just 5-3 and not 8-0.
Smith, a two-time Second Team All-Pro, offers leadership and playing ability for the Ravens defence, which ranks 20th in the NFL with 22.9 points allowed per game. Baltimore is on track to have its worst defensive scoring statistics since 2015. Eric DeCosta, who made his third trade-deadline deal in his fourth season as the Ravens’ general manager, is being proactive once more. In 2019 and 2020, respectively, Baltimore acquired cornerback Marcus Peters and pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. The trade was initially covered by Fox Sports.
How does Smith fit into the Ravens’ defense?
The Ravens are an excellent match for Smith’s physical abilities since they have the personnel to play all three downs. In the scheme of defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, Smith may be used as a versatile defender to close gaps in the run game. Seen racking up tackles, matching and carrying in coverage, and adding to the front in Baltimore’s pressure schemes, look for him to tally up tackles. His career total is 16.5 sacks. Smith can make major plays in Baltimore as a stack ‘backer because of his pursuit speed and disruptive skills. The Ravens are 26th in the league because they have allowed opponents to gain first downs on 27.4% of their rushes. Smith on the field will make them more effective. — Bowen
He arrived to training camp on schedule in July but was described as having an unexplained ailment that prevented him from performing physically. Smith made his public trade request on August 9 after calling the contract discussions between himself and the company “distasteful.” After a month or so, Smith decided to abandon his hold-in and resume practising on August 20.
Smith is a free agent after the season. What could his next contract look like?
The $20 million linebacker market peak explains why Smith was transferred in the first place because that price point. When the two parties were in talks during the summer, Chicago was thought to be considerably lower. Smith will therefore compete with Shaquille Leonard of Indianapolis ($98.5 million over five years) for the title of highest-paid off-ball linebacker. Baltimore must choose between agreeing to that demand, franchise-tagging him for more than $18 million, or letting him go in exchange for a compensatory selection. Smith will be one of the most sought-after players available and is expected to fetch a high price. The Fowler