Bears LB Roquan Smith Requests Trade Out of Chicago
When it comes to signing a lucrative contract extension, Roquan Smith’s camp is running out of patience. According to a statement released by the team on Tuesday, the linebacker has formally requested a transfer.
“The new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote in part. “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been take it or leave it. The deal sent to me would be bad for me and the LB market if I signed it. I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me. “I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a (Super Bowl) back to our city. However, they have left me no choice but to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table.
“I haven’t had the chance to talk to the McCaskey family, and maybe they can salvage this, but as of right now, I don’t see a path back to the organization I truly love.”
Smith has earned two second-team All-Pro selections in his last two seasons as one of Chicago’s best defenders. After nearly two weeks of training camp, the Bears have yet to offer Smith a long-term contract that would keep him in Chicago for many years to come, resulting in Smith’s absence from practice.
Football Outsiders analyst Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Smith was offended by Chicago’s backloaded offer due to its lack of a guaranteed minimum salary and the inclusion of de-escalators that no other NFL contract of this magnitude had.
As a result of contract negotiations, Bears GM Ryan Poles has stated that the team is still hoping to keep Smith for the foreseeable future.
“I thought we’d be in a better situation,” Poles said. “Right now, my intentions are to sign Roquan to this team. We’re gonna take it daily, and at the end of the day, we’ve got to do what’s best for this organization. But my intentions are to ensure Roquan’s signed to this team.”
Is Smith’s image affected by who you speak with? While he hasn’t been selected for the Pro Bowl by the general public, the media members who do have All-Pro votes haven’t shied away from praising his play. On the other hand, Pro Football Focus sees Smith as a mediocre defender, with a defensive grade of just 67.2 in his best season.
Smith, who is due $9.7 million in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract, appears to be following the same logic.
Bears LB Roquan Smith requests trade out of Chicago (per @RapSheet)https://t.co/MqRWdrCdQx pic.twitter.com/f1sT6VCcWT
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) August 9, 2022
Two men who had no role in selecting Smith eighth overall in 2018 are now leading the Bears into a new chapter. However, despite Smith’s proven ability as a linebacker, Poles and Eberflus have not selected him, nor are they scrambling to sign him as of yet.
The Chicago Bulls are in the midst of a rebuild, focusing on long-term success in mind. He’d fit right in unless Smith isn’t the perfect fit for the new regime. Whether or not another team is interested in acquiring Smith from the Bears, we’ll have to wait and see.
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