The Ravens have officially made a big splash before the NFL trade deadline, as they've acquired linebacker Roquan Smith from the Chicago Bears.
Baltimore reportedly gave up second- and fifth-round picks in the 2023 draft and veteran linebacker A.J. Klein for Smith.
"We are excited to announce that we have acquired Roquan via trade with the Bears," General Manager Eric DeCosta stated. "Roquan is a player that we have long admired both on and off the field. He fits our culture seamlessly and plays like a Raven at all times. We are confident that Roquan makes our team stronger."
Smith, 25, is one of the best inside linebackers in the league and makes a fearsome duo with Patrick Queen as two former first-round picks will line up side-by-side in the middle of Baltimore's defense.
Veteran starter Josh Bynes is dealing with a quad injury that held him out of action last week against the Buccaneers.
Smith leads the NFL with 83 tackles this season and only Bobby Wagner has tallied more tackles than him over the past five seasons.
The 8th-overall pick in the 2018 draft out of Georgia, Smith has been a steady playmaker racking up 606 tackles, 16.5 sacks, 47 tackles for loss and seven interceptions over the past four-plus seasons. Smith is one of two players (Shaquille Leonard) since 2018 to record at least 15 sacks and five interceptions.
Since his 2018 NFL arrival, Smith had led a Bears' defensive unit that ranked No. 3 overall (328.3 ypg) and No. 4 against the pass (212.8 ypg), while permitting the league's fourth-fewest points per game (21.1).
Smith has also been durable over his career, as he's played in every game except for four at the end of the 2019 season when he suffered a torn pectoral.
Smith made a public request for a trade this offseason after not reaching a contract extension with the Bears, but when a deal didn't get worked out he still reported for training camp and got to work. Smith called negotiations with the Bears "distasteful."
He's reportedly playing this season on a salary-cap hit of $9.7 million, but he's set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason.
DeCosta has a history of landing big-time defensive players at the trade deadline. He got cornerback Marcus Peters in 2019 and pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue in 2020. The Ravens signed Peters to a contract extension later that season but did not re-sign Ngakoue, instead getting a compensatory pick in the following year's draft.
For now, the Ravens have a new difference-maker in the middle of a defense that's on the way up. After a tough start, Baltimore's defense has had strong outings the past several weeks and Smith could take it over the top.