Is Roquan Smith a big enough playmaker to reset the market with Chicago Bears?

Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the big sticking points in the Roquan Smith contract negotiations is that he wants to be paid in the area, or possibly above a player like Shaq Leonard. Leonard has a big advantage over Smith in the turnover department, though, as he forced 17 fumbles in his career, compared to just one for Smith. The Chicago Bears see that, and 11 interceptions from Leonard to five from Smith, and say that they want to see him be more of a playmaker before giving him that type of money.

Still, there are a couple of things that can help even the playing field for Smith who cannot argue that Leonard has produced more. One is that Fred Warner got big money, and while he has a few more turnovers than Smith, they are much more comparable.

Totals Table
1Darius Leonard5958343195203015.0177111
2Roquan Smith4161348176174314.01151
3Fred Warner436433217217224.56631

Smith has more interceptions than Warner, but when you add in fumbles he Is down nine to six. However, the other thing to notice is that Smith has 13 more tackles for loss than Leonard and 21 more than Warner.

Beyond that, some advanced stats skew in the favor of Smith as well.

Earlier this summer we compared these players, and you can see not only Warner, and Leonard, but the rest of the draft class below.

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Leonard has the best pressure rate, while Smith and Warner are basically the same.

Still, Smith has a 15.34% run stop rate, compared to 13.08% for Leonard, and 11.61% for Warner. His yards per target allowed is 6.43, which trumps Warner at 6.58, and Leonard at 8.15. When you look at adjusted yards allowed which accounts for turnovers Leonard does shoot down to 6.96, but Smith is at 5.65. Meanwhile, Warner is at 6.79.

So, the argument can be that Leonard makes more plays. When you look at interceptions, he has twice as many. Still, with twice as many picks factored into the adjusted yards-per-attempt formula, Smith is still the better linebacker in coverage.

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You can take Leonard who is more bang, with a few breakdowns in coverage, or Smith who may not make the game-changing play as often, but can be more consistent on a down-per-down basis. Smith being more efficient in the run game, the pass game, and with tackles for loss has to be factored into his evaluation.