This has not been a great year for the Chicago Bears so far.
The Bears had an offseason that looked a lot like a rebuild. They got very little help for quarterback Justin Fields, passing on adding any impact free agents while seeing some of their own players sign elsewhere. The draft was light due to the trade up to get Fields last year.
With or without Smith, a glance at the Bears' depth chart reveals that there's a chance Chicago is the worst team in the NFL this season. The odds of that happening are pretty enticing for bettors.
Odds on the NFL's worst record this season
BetMGM offers odds on the worst record in the NFL. Here are the favorites in that category nobody wants to be favored in:
Houston Texans +300
Atlanta Falcons +350
New York Jets +650
Carolina Panthers +1000
Seattle Seahawks +1000
Chicago Bears +1100
Jacksonville Jaguars +1100
The Bears stand out on that list, given their odds. There have been some good vibes about the Texans in training camp. The Jets have some issues but some fun, young players. The Seahawks have quarterback issues but a long track record of winning. The Jaguars should be better without Urban Meyer.
Those teams are on that list for a reason and the bottom can fall out for any of them. But you can make positive arguments for many of them being a little better than the worst team in the NFL. The Bears don't have many of those positive vibes.
Bears haven't added much talent
The Bears haven't been truly awful in a while, so maybe it's too much to figure they end up with the No. 1 pick in next year's draft. But there's not a lot to be excited about.
Fields has a lot of talent, but he also was inconsistent as a rookie and doesn't have a lot of help. His most talented receiver, Allen Robinson II, is off to the Los Angeles Rams. He wasn't really replaced. The offensive line took a step back from last year, and it wasn't good to begin with. The Bears' offensive line ranks at Sharp Football Analysis, Pro Football Focus and Establish The Run: 32nd, 31st, 31st.
Edge defender Khalil Mack was traded. The biggest deal the Bears did for an outside free agent was defensive tackle Justin Jones at $12 million over two years. That's not the type of signing that moves the needle. The Bears have a new regime that doesn't believe in spending a lot in free agency and that's a fine approach, but it might not help a roster that needs an injection of talent. It didn't help that Chicago was without a first-round pick.
And now there's the Smith trade request. It might be prudent for the Bears to not pay top dollar for an off-the-ball linebacker (and it's not like the Bears have to trade him), but it makes them look bad. It's not like they're paying many other stars.
And that brings us back to the odds. Does it feel like the Bears are the worst team in the NFL? Not yet. But it does seem like there's a better than 11-to-1 chance of it happening. It could end up being a really long winter in Chicago.