A former Bears linebacker gets his payday
The Chicago Bears had a contract dispute that had a lot of attention in training camp. Roquan Smith held out during camp. He then demanded a trade when general manager Ryan Poles didn’t arrive at the figure Smith wanted. The former Bears linebacker found a figure to his liking Tuesday.
According to Ian Rapoport with the NFL Network, Smith signed a five-year deal for $100 million. $45 million is fully guaranteed. Smith became the highest-paid off-the-ball linebacker to earn $20 million a year.
Per Saint Omni, The #Ravens agree in principle with All-Pro LB Roquan Smith — now the highest paid at his position in NFL history with a 5-yr, $100M deal. $45M fully guaranteed & $60M in total guarantees. Huge. The 1st off-ball LB to get $20M per year. Roquan represented himself. pic.twitter.com/KCy7t26SpZ
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 10, 2023
The Bears weren’t going to be suckers for that. That’s 16 Equanimeous St. Brown equivalents Poles can stock up on.
Head coach Matt Eberflus pretty much mocked Smith’s positional value this season following his trade to the Ravens. The former Bears linebacker believed he could play middle linebacker for the Bears in the 4-3. Eberflus disagreed, which made it all the more interesting when he started undrafted rookie free agent Jack Sanborn at middle linebacker after Smith’s trade. Nicholas Morrow switched to weakside linebacker.
Smith has started nine games for the Ravens since the trade before the Nov. 1st deadline. He has 86 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and one interception with the Ravens. Those numbers just don’t equate to the ball production stats Eberflus envisions his defenders making in the future. But good on Smith for going agentless and finding a team dumb enough to toss him that bag.
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