Roquan Smith contract saga takes worrying turn ahead of Bears training camp
The Chicago Bears have a holdout on their hands. Star linebacker Roquan Smith is not expected to report to training camp with his fellow veterans as he continues to seek a new contract from the organization. Ian Rapoport indicates that Smith has not been impressed with the offers his camp has received from the Bears, and will thus aim to force their hands with a training camp holdout.
#Bears All-Pro LB Roquan Smith will not be participating in training camp when veteran report tomorrow, sources say, because of his contract situation. Smith has not yet received an offer he would remotely consider, thus he’ll wait.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 25, 2022
Smith is currently entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Bears. In 2022, he’ll earn $9.375 million in base salary. The total deal was a four-year, $18.47 million contract, which Smith signed after Chicago selected him with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
After emerging as one of the league’s premier linebackers, Smith is adamant that he gets a new deal in Chicago, and is putting his foot down until the negotiations start to pick up.
Obviously, this is troubling news for the Bears, who were hoping to avoid a holdout by getting a new deal signed ahead of camp. Seeing as that plan didn’t come to fruition, they’ll have to work quickly and reach common ground with the All-Pro linebacker in order to get him back at camp and prepared for the 2022 NFL season.
Last season, Smith featured in 17 games for the Bears. He was selected to the All-Pro second team for the second year in a row. Smith racked up 163 tackles last season, including 98 solo tackles. He logged one interception, 3.0 sacks, four QB hits, and 12 tackles for loss in his fourth season in the league.
With unrestricted free agency looming after this season, ensuring Smith is happy and paid needs to be priority No. 1 for the Bears, lest this holdout extends into the regular season.
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