Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith put a damper on the team's training camp when he requested a trade on Tuesday morning. Smith, who has been seeking a contract extension from the Bears, said that “the new front office regime doesn't value me here.” Naturally, many wanted to hear from the leader of said new front office regime, general manager Ryan Poles.
“Right now, my intentions are to make sure Roquan is on this team.” — GM Ryan Poles. https://t.co/E3tqyU6eAe
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 9, 2022
Ryan Poles made it very clear. The Bears general manager said that his “intentions are to make sure that Roquan is on this team.” Roquan Smith wants to be in Chicago. The Bears want Smith.
So, what's the problem, guys?!
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Bears' latest contract offer to Smith was backloaded, meaning it would fail to make him the highest-paid ‘backer in the NFL in terms of his actual salary.
Not only was that off-putting for Roquan Smith, but Chicago's “proposed de-escalators”, not present in the contracts of other players making at least $15 million per year, also set him off.
Needless to say, the two sides are pretty far apart at the moment. That's why it wasn't surprising to see Poles not ruling out a Roquan Smith trade.
All the two sides can do is return to the negotiating table. But Poles has been put on notice now by his star linebacker. Pay me, or else.
Smith certainly has valid reasons for wanting a payday, as he's coming off of a 163-tackle season, while appearing in all 17 contests for the Bears.
He's dependable, and at 24, perhaps barely scratching the surface of what he could become. That's scary to think about. You know what's scarier?
Bears fans imagining Roquan Smith wearing a different jersey in 2022.