Less than one week after pulling off the blockbuster trade to send Robert Quinn to the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a fourth-round pick, Ryan Poles did it again. On Monday, the Bears reportedly traded linebacker Roquan Smith to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft. This trade will be the biggest move ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, and there’s a good chance it will be the last, but Poles and assistant GM Ian Cunningham will be working diligently until the clock strikes 3 p.m. on Nov. 1. If the front office is able to work out one more last minute deal, it will likely be for one of these two players.
DAVID MONTGOMERY - RUNNING BACK
It should be noted that the Bears love David Montgomery. Early in Matt Eberflus’ tenure as head coach, he singled out Montgomery as the “mean and motor” type player they look for to build their culture. Ryan Poles told reporters on Monday that Montgomery is one of his favorite players. The Bears are also the top rushing team in the NFL and want to stay committed to the run game. However, paying running backs top dollar is not en vogue for GMs trying to build competitive teams. Montgomery will be a free agent next year and deserves to be paid. The question is will the Bears be the team to pay him? Khalil Herbert has been a great substitute whenever Montgomery has gone down with injury over the past two seasons, and Herbert started eating into Montgomery’s snap count over the past two weeks. If the team feels comfortable with Herbert as their lead back moving forward, and if they don’t think they’ll be able to re-sign Montgomery in the offseason, they may decide to unload him now to get some draft picks.
TEVEN JENKINS - RIGHT GUARD
Here’s why a Teven Jenkins trade is unlikely. To start, he’s looked like the most physically dominant player on the offensive line. He’s still on his rookie deal, and that’s valuable considering the Bears will need to invest resources into the line this offseason. Further, the Bears line is beat up, with three startersー Cody Whitehair, Lucas Patrick and Larry Boromー all sidelined. Their depth is being tested right now, and shipping out a reliable lineman would hurt the team.
On the other hand, Poles has already shown he’s willing to endure a little short-term pain for a long-term gain. Jenkins has also had one of the bumpiest roads on the Bears roster this season. He started by getting the first crack at left tackle reps, and was moved to right tackle halfway through OTAs. That was just the start of his journey along the line, however. Jenkins was eventually relegated to second-team and sometimes even third-team reps at right tackle. Rumors started to swirl that Jenkins and his coaches were not seeing eye-to-eye, and each party was open to a way out of the relationship. Then, when Lucas Patrick hurt his thumb and Doug Kramer went down with a leg injury, it became clear that Sam Mustipher would need to be the team’s starting center, leaving a vacancy at right guard. Jenkins became that right guard and seemed to take to the position well. But when Patrick was healthy enough to play, the Bears started rotating Patrick in at right guard, rather than letting Jenkins have the position outright. Although the Bears praised Jenkins’ play and his ability to pick up the position quickly, actions speak louder than words, and clearly the Bears weren’t sold on Jenkins as a full-time starter at the position. He only took over outright when Cody Whitehair went down, necessitating Patrick to move to left guard.