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Knee-Jerk Reactions: Ravens Trade for Roquan Smith

Roquan Smith
photo: Chicago Bears
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The Ravens traded for Chicago Bears LB Roquan Smith today, in exchange for second-round and fifth-round picks.

RSR staff react to the news here.

Darin McCann

It’s hard not to feel excited about this pick-up for the Ravens. Smith is a do-it-all linebacker who can team with an improved Patrick Queen to do a lot of damage to opposing offenses. Smith has collected seven interceptions and 16.5 sacks already in his NFL career, and he’s only 25 years old. Add in the fact that he is currently leading the league in tackles with 83, and I don’t think it’s hyperbole to suggest the Ravens are a better team now — plain and simple.

It is a lot of draft capital to give up for a half-year rental, so expect that to be remedied pretty shortly. No, it’s not the flashy receiver. But this is a big trade.

A really big trade.

Kevin McNelis

For everyone waiting on the trademark EDC deadline deal, you got your wish.

Wow, what a huge fish for the Ravens to reel in. Not only does Roquan Smith address an area of concern in this defense, but he enters this unit as one of the most sure-fire tacklers in the league. To land him for a second-rounder and a fifth-rounder in exchange is just criminal, but it does beg the question of what will happen once Smith’s contract expires at the end of this year. The stud 25-year-old is probably due for a big payday, and I’d hate for him to be a short-term rental, but his contract certainly clouds the picture for how Lamar’s deal gets done.

I’m going to leave tomorrow’s problems for tomorrow and just enjoy the feeling I have today which is HOLY CRAP, WE GOT ROQUAN SMITH!!!

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Chad Racine

Brilliant move by Eric DeCosta at a position that could use the help. I wanted him in the beginning of the season but didn’t think it would happen. I also think he’s a better long term option than Bobby Wagner due to the age difference with Wagner at 32 and Smith in his prime at 25. Also getting him later in the season lessens the salary cap burden which is a major factor.

This defense should be at its peak late in the season which is exactly what we want.

Rob Shields

Lots of excitement around this deal and while it should help the tackling of this team, overall he has been a subpar player and he’s on an expiring deal.

His coverage skills aren’t that good and PFF has graded him out poorly overall.

The Ravens will likely have him walk, as they can’t really afford to pay an ILB that kind of money long term if they keep Lamar.

If they end up with a third round comp pick, this will be the equivalent of trading a high third rounder him. That’s fine in a vacuum but I think there were bigger needs and I just question how good he is. Perhaps a different scheme will help? Not sure.

I think he helps in some ways but may not help in the ways we need the most. I am very lukewarm on the deal and side with not liking it more than liking it.

Hopefully there is something there still to unlock that we can here, as opposed to what the Bears could do.

Nikhil Mehta

Does Eric DeCosta like trading for All Pro defenders or what?

My main trade targets have been CBs and WRs, but I am still very excited to acquire Roquan Smith without giving up a 1st-round pick. Adding him to the defense will open up Patrick Queen’s game even more and give Mike Macdonald plenty of options, and more importantly, depth.

What is expected to be a late 2nd-round pick (plus a 5th) is a lot to give up for a half-season ILB rental, but Baltimore must be working on an extension for the defensive centerpiece. Even if they can’t get it done, Smith should net the Ravens a top compensatory selection in 2024 – a less desirable outcome, but certainly not a failed trade if Smith makes an impact this season.

But as my colleagues have already written, such concerns can be saved until after the trade deadline expires, especially with so many other factors up in the air.

I said this after the Bucs game:

If it wasn’t true then, it’s certainly true now. There’s been a defensive revival of sorts in the NFL this season, and the Baltimore Ravens are once again leading the pack.

Chris Schisler

The Ravens just made a big bet that they can win a championship because of their defense. With all the uncertainty around the offense and Lamar Jackson’s contract, the defense has quietly had all the answers. A defense that hasn’t given up more than 24 points since Week 3 now has a top-tier linebacker.

The Ravens just got better. The pass defense will have a huge boost. Smith is one of the league’s better linebackers in coverage. The run defense just got a boost. Smith is a headhunter at the linebacker position. He’s a high football IQ player and he’ll provide great leadership.

The Ravens are 5-3 and they don’t have a difficult schedule, on paper. If they can continue to play tough defense they could go on a big winning streak. This is Eric DeCosta and the organization showing you that they are all in.

They are betting on the defense. That’s a huge show in confidence for Mike MacDonald. That’s telling you that Smith could be the missing ingredient. He was the available player that promised the highest upgrade for the team.

This will elevate the play of Patrick Queen. Queen needed that veteran do-it-all linebacker next to him. If Smith gets extended he will be the franchise linebacker. This will become his show and he’ll be the field general of the unit. At the moment, Smith and Queen have the potential to be a great combination. You certainly can’t get more athletic at the linebacker position.

The cost of the trade is something the Ravens can be comfortable with. A second round pick and a fifth round pick gets the team a potential cornerstone player for the franchise. Smith is only in his fifth year. That means he’s entering his prime. If the Ravens get him an extension this is an A+ trade. It will have a huge impact on the season. The Ravens are getting back to winning because of their defense. That’s the Baltimore way.

7 Responses

  1. Roquan was my “must get” before the deadline closes. Now….how do the Ravens handle his contract? Short term (1/2 season) rental: seems unlikely as Baltimore gave up 2 prime draft choices in a short draft choice year to get him. Extend him: Seems most likely and we’ll have to see how creative EDC can be with the cap. I’m sure the Ravens would not have made the trade if they did not already have all the numbers worked out…..

    1. Agree 100%. I was looking for LB help since preseason and especially when Roquan mentioned he wanted to be traded. He’s a dog and his stats speak for him. We have all this young talent and now we add Roquan(25, in his prime and one of the top LBs in the league).

      I have to think EDC can work it out. After the season, sign a long term, free up some space, and franchise Lamar. it’s all possible.

      The one thing that worries me? We have let Mosley, Z. Smith, and Judon go in free agency. Does EDC let Roquan walk away in free agency and take a supplemental in 2024 and lose a 2nd and 5th for a rental?

      Let’s hope for the best and retain both Roquan and Lamar.

  2. “overall he has been a subpar player” (by Rob Shields)

    Whaaaaat??????

    Dunno what you’ve had before you produced this gem, but I want some of it too.

  3. Yeah Rob is clueless. Bottom line is Ravens realized nothing out there thats gonna allow us to beat Buf or KC in a shootout so improve Defense short and long term

  4. I like the trade but I worry about his ability to acclimate to this defense. We run a complex scheme. In fairness JPP came in and has done a nice job without knowing the defense fully. So hoping for more of that outcome.

  5. NO ONE IS CONSIDERING SUBTRACTION BY ADDITION, AS IN, WHAT MESSAGE DOES THIS SEND LAMAR? SUDDENLY ATTENTION PAID TO DEFENSE’S NEW TOY, WHO COMES W/ SIGNING BATTLE ATTATCHED JUST WHEN LAMAR IS IN SIGNING BATTLE. AND WHAT HAPPENED TO NEED FOR NEW WR TO HELP LAMARE SHINE?

Comments are closed.

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