Roquan Smith applied for business two weeks ago. He expressed dissatisfaction with how the Chicago Bears handled his contract negotiations and wanted to go somewhere a team would pay him what he deserved. Such an attitude is not something new. Many players use the “trade me” tactic in contract negotiations. Smith likely hoped rookie GM Ryan Poles caved under public pressure, either granting his request for a trade or coming back with a higher offer.
Poles did neither. He held his ground in talks and refused to entertain the idea of business. As a result, Smith was left with few options. Either he continued his resistance in the regular season, or he returned to play 2022 during the final year of his deal. Since the first would cost him a lot of money in fines, he chose to start practicing again. Jeff Howe of The Athletics revealed more details about how things happened.
He contacted several other league executives about the matter.
“Officials from eight teams told The Athletic over the past week the Bears never contacted to shop Smith. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean Poles hasn’t been quietly having conversations with other clubs, but the word around the league has been that the Bruins haven’t actively tried to move him.
Those executives added that they also did not try to get him because of the complexity of Smith’s situation.
Smith is set to make $9.735 million this season under his fifth-year option and has publicly addressed his desire for an extension. It is believed around the league Smith wants a contract in the neighborhood of $20 million in average annual value. Poles said the Aug. 9 Bears’ offer to Smith included “record chunks of this contract.”
The rival executives polled by The Athletic were unanimous in their belief that Smith is a good player, though short of a great one, and no one was interested in approaching the contract parameters they believed Smith was greedy — in addition to surrendering a player pick in a trade.”
This paints a pretty clear picture.
Although a two-time second-team All-Pro, Smith is not viewed as a true elite linebacker around the NFL. He has many fans. That is obvious. However, none of them would surrender a high draft pick and $20 million per year to get him. On the other hand, Poles wouldn’t give up on a linebacker in their moment for a third round pick. That’s bad business. His best course of action was to maintain a firm stance on a specific number. Smith could take it or gamble on himself by having a career year in 2022. The linebacker chose door #2.
Roquan Smith is overseeing the story now.
He is not happy. That is obvious. He feels cheated out of what he deserves. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the business. Things got complicated when GM Ryan Pace was fired in January. Smith’s leverage was immediately diminished by not having the man who drafted him in charge. Then he made matters worse by deciding to represent himself rather than hire a professional agent. His lack of experience and inability to not let negotiations become personal were evident.
His only course forward is to play great football. He’ll be 26 next year, so there’s no risk of losing that huge payday he’s looking for. The hard part is figuring out how to do it in an unfamiliar defense. The Bears no longer run a 3-4 system. Matt Eberflus took the 4-3 from Indianapolis. Roquan Smith is moving from inside to outside linebacker. Such transitions are not easy.
That’s another reason he’s back to practice now rather than wait.
He needs to start mastering the position as quickly as possible. Every second wasted could mean more dollars out of his bank account six months from now. The Bruins have maintained their stance of wanting to sign him long-term. They are willing to wait things out and see if Smith can continue to be great in their system. If he passes away, he will get his money.
Post Views: 3,013