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Chalk Talk


Chalk Talk: Why did Bears trade Roquan Smith?


Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of questions from fans on

Why would the Bears trade a 25-year-old star in Roquan Smith for draft picks that are not proven in the league?
Steve C.
Ontario, Canada

When Ryan Poles spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon at Halas Hall, the Bears general manager was very transparent about why Roquan Smith was traded to the Ravens in exchange for 2023 second- and fifth-round picks as well as linebacker A.J. Klein. Poles told reporters that based on what had transpired up until this point with negotiations, he felt it was very unlikely that the Bears and Smith would reach an agreement on a contract extension. So instead of letting Smith walk after the season and receiving nothing in return—except perhaps a compensatory draft pick—the Bears made a trade that enabled them to gain valuable assets.

How is the morale in the Bears locker room after they traded two veteran leaders in Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn?
Keith R.
Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Players were sad to see their teammates go, but they understand that the NFL is a business and those things sometimes happen. I give coach Matt Eberflus a lot of credit for understanding the need to talk to players about the trades and checking on how they're feeling. I know he spoke to the team's leadership council, which consists of 13 players. Here's the Eberflus quote from his press conference that I was most impressed with: "You can't just pretend nothing happened. You've got to talk about it. You've got to look each other in the eye. You've got to tell each other the truth and put a vision in front of them with where we are going and why we are doing that."

Did the Bears name a team captain to replace Roquan Smith?
Bill P.
Boise, Idaho

Yes, coach Matt Eberflus announced Wednesday that defensive tackle Justin Jones would replace Roquan Smith as a team captain after Smith was dealt to the Ravens. Eberflus told the team last Saturday that safety Eddie Jackson was replacing defensive end Robert Quinn following his trade to the Eagles. Jones and Jackson join quarterback Justin Fields and left guard Cody Whitehair as permanent captains. Eberflus also names one honorary captain for each game.

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