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Bears LB Roquan Smith requests trade out of Chicago

Roquan Smith‘s desire to have a lucrative contract extension has yet to be addressed, and his camp’s patience is running thin.

The linebacker has formally requested a trade, in accordance with a statement released on Tuesday.

“The brand new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote simply. “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of the journey has been ‘take it or leave it’. The offer delivered to me is one which would be harmful to myself, and for the whole LB market easily signed it. I am looking to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on attempting to benefit from me.

“I needed to become a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a (Super Bowl) back again to our city. However, they will have left me no choice than to request a trade which allows me to play for a business that truly values what I bring to the table.

“I haven’t had the opportunity to speak to the McCaskey family, and perhaps they are able to salvage this, but by at this time I don’t visit a path back again to the organization I must say i love.”

Smith has consistently produced as you of Chicago’s best defenders, earning two straight second-team All-Pro selections in his last two seasons. However, the Bears have yet to create Smith a significant offer for a long-term deal that could keep him in Chicago for a long time ahead, prompting Smith to sit out of practice since training camp opened nearly fourteen days ago.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Chicago’s backloaded offer offended Smith since it wouldn’t make him the top-paid LB in actual salary and included de-escalators that no other NFL contract of this magnitude featured.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles told reporters that the team “brought it” in contract negotiations but still hopes to retain Smith for the near future.

“I thought we’d maintain an improved situation,” Poles said. “At this time, my intentions are to sign Roquan to the team. We’re gonna go on it daily, and by the end of your day, we’ve got to accomplish what’s best because of this organization. But my intentions are to be sure Roquan’s signed to the team.”

The perception of Smith appears to vary based on who you ask. He hasn’t earned an expert Bowl selection from the voting populace, but media members holding All-Pro votes haven’t shied from recognizing his performance. Pro Football Focus doesn’t contain the same opinion on Smith, whom the web site sees as a middling defender, predicated on his best single-season defensive grade finishing at only 67.2.

Chicago appears to be following a same logic with Smith, who’s due $9.7 million in the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.

The Bears are entering a fresh era under Poles and coach Matt Eberflus, two men who had zero involvement with selecting Smith eighth overall in 2018. Although Smith has shown to be an excellent linebacker, he’s not just a player Poles and Eberflus picked, nor is he one they’re scrambling to secure — at the very least much less of now.

Chicago is amid a rebuild of sorts, turning toward a younger roster with long-term goals at heart. Smith appears to be to match into such plans, unless he’s not the perfect fit for the brand new regime.

We’ll see if another team likes Smith enough to try and pry him from the Bears.

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