Annual NFL training camps are breeding grounds for the continuous rumor mills spinning out of control at the beginning of each season. The Chicago Bears were able to bed to to rest their Roquan Smith-related controversy and get down to the business of trying to post a winning season for a change.
Roquan Smith- contract negotiations failed.
Georgia Bulldog product LB Roquan Smiths enters the 2022 season on his final year of his rookie contract and felt “unappreciated” by the Bears front office. Smith did not make the Pro Bowl in previous seasons but earned second team All-Pro honors and was productive last season under then-head coach Matt Nagy. Smith entered this season’s training camp as a “hold in” meaning he was mentally present for position and team meetings and practice sessions. Nevertheless, Smith held himself out of any physical contact since camp began.
Despite the efforts to force the Bears management to renegotiate his contract, Smith essentially failed with his hold-in tactic. Furthermore, Smith did not have an agent working with him and left him without vital bargaining leverage. The Bears never reconsidered his contract and despite Smith’s demands to be traded, his efforts were fruitless to get the Bears to restructure the last year of his existing contract.
Where does Smith go from here?
With his hold-in efforts behind him for now, Smith has officially entered training camp drills and participates physically in all individual and team activities. However, Smith’s inactivity puts his physical preparation behind and he now has only a few weeks to prepare for the regular season opener.
Smith did participate in off-season OTA’s but removed himself from actual contact during training camp until this point. Smith now acknowledges that contract negotiations between himself and the Bears organization is officially over for the upcoming season and Smith wants to move his priorities to the actual season: ” I’m just shifting my focus to the season and more so just focused on being the best teammate I can be to those guys in the locker room.”
With one preseason game left, the Bears seem ready to accept Smith back into the team fold and they did not fine him for his non-participation in camp. Roquan Smith needs to prove to the Bears and their fans that he truly deserves a new contract and that proof begins in just a few short weeks.
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