Two former Bears players are having career seasons this year. But not in Chicago.
Roquan Smith and Sam Mustipher, two former Bears now Baltimore Ravens players, are topping the PFF grade leaderboards for their respective positions.
Smith, an inside linebacker, has the highest PFF grade for his position. And Mustipher is the second-best pass-blocking center in the league, via PFF.
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Smith played the first 4.5 seasons of his career with the Bears. The Bears drafted him out of Georgia with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
He was a stellar linebacker for the Bears. He ranked in the top five in the NFL for tackles every season he played with the Bears. His pass coverage skills aren't sublime, and neither is his ability to create turnovers. For those reasons, Ryan Poles and the front office couldn't come to terms with Smith on a new contract.
They traded Smith to the Ravens just ahead of the 2022 NFL trade deadline in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft. Upon arrival in Baltimore, Smith was not only signed to the highest contract for an outside linebacker in NFL history, but he also improved drastically.
In nine games with the Ravens, he earned one interception, two sacks and 86 combined tackles. For the second and third time in his career, he was named first-team All-Pro and selected for the Pro Bowl team, respectively.
As for Mustipher, the Bears signed him as an undrafted free agent ahead of the 2020 season. He played 43 games over three seasons with the Bears, starting in 40 of those games. The Bears opted not to bring him back to the team this season. In turn, he signed with the Ravens.
There, he's played in 72% of offensive snaps across three games, starting in two of them. He's one of the best pass-blocking centers in the league, as of this writing. The Bears, on the other hand, are stranded with one of the worst offensive line units in the league.
How much of an impression does the success of Smith and Mustipher leave on the Bears coaches and front office?