Could Roquan Smith be back on the practice field soon?
Roquan Smith’s holdout could be nearing an end, according to a Bears insider. The Chicago Bears have missed their best player since the start of training camp. Smith requested a trade last week.
The back-and-forth drama included an alleged proxy agent and a tense, public stand-off between Smith and general manager Ryan Poles. Poles appears to have most of the leverage in this situation, as his trade value appears low to other NFL teams.
Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune wrote about Smith’s current status with the Bears recently. He thinks there’s reason to believe Smith will be back with the team soon.
With any luck — and maybe it’s wishful thinking — Smith will be running as a participant in practice at Halas Hall next week. One thing that improves the odds of the impasse ending is that as regular season nears, the more pressure there is for a resolution…
As I have written previously, the Bears hold most, if not all, leverage. They have Smith under contract with the fifth-year option in his rookie deal, and at the negotiating table they can remind him they will also could use the franchise tag on him in 2023. The only real leverage for Smith is withholding his services during the regular season — and that’s where things could get very expensive for him quickly.
If the Bears don’t trade Smith — and the appropriate time for Poles to do that would have been the spring — then the linebacker faces the prospect of playing for $9.735 million and inheriting the risk that an injury could affect his chances of a much larger payday in the future.
This would be good news for the Bears and Roquan Smith
Roquan Smith is the leader on the Bears’ defense. It’s preferable for the team that Smith is back on the field soon. It would be even better if Smith signed an extension that’s good for Smith’s pockets and the Bears’ future cap space.
Smith’s choice to hold out on a bad team is unfortunate for him. But he’ll still walk out of the negotiating room with a stellar deal. Poles promised the contract had some record-setting deals in it. Roquan Smith is an avid tackler who will have a chance to see his numbers improve in head coach Matt Eberflus’ system.
The sooner he can get out there, the sooner he can excel for his metrics and the Bears.
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