As the NFL training camp enters its third week, a new drama is swirling around the Bears organization as LB Roquan Smith has indicated that he wants a trade and he remains at a standstill with new GM Ryan Poles and new head coach Matt Eberflus. Smith has not practiced with the Bears during this time and remains a “hold-in” meaning he’s physically in camp but not participating in any team training activities.
Is Roquan Smith leaving the Bears this season?
LB Roquan Smith is a University of Georgia product and over his NFL career has compiled two second team All-Pro nods from the football media in his professional career. Smith has posted 100+ tackles each season in his NFL career and has recorded 14 sacks from 2018 through 2021. Smith was drafted by the Bears in what was supposed to be a playoff contention period and now finds himself part of another Bears rebuilding campaign with a new GM and yet another head coach.
With that in mind, Roquan Smith could play a key part in the Bears rebuilding program for the future. However, as reported by Ian Rappaport of ESPN, the Bears and Smith seem to be at an impasse and Smith has come out and said “the new front office doesn’t value me here . . they’ve refused to negotiate with me in good faith, every step of this journey has been ‘take it or leave it.'”
Bears GM Ryan Poles still feels that there is room for negotiations and that Smith can still play a vital role in the Bears 4-3 defensive scheme. In reality, this may be a contract ploy on the part of Smith to renegotiate his contract before the start of the season and seal a long-term deal with considerably more than his rookie contract. Roquan Smith has not been the top LB in the NFL since he entered the league but has been an above-average position player for the Bears down the stretch.
Maybe Smith does in fact feel he wants or needs to leave the Bears and find a new home with another team; when new GM’s and head coaches take over, they may project a team vision that doesn’t include certain players and in theory this leadership change may leave Smith out of the Bears defensive equation this season. At any rate, Roquan Smith is not interested in potentially hurting himself in training camp until he has a new contract with a team whether it’s the Bears or another NFL organization.
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