Almost half of the first round draft picks from the 2018 NFL Draft have yet to sign their contracts, so the fact that the Chicago Bears’ Roquan Smith is without a contract isn’t that alarming. But, since the Bears’ rookies can report to camp today, and Smith reportedly isn’t there, that’s a bit concerning.
According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, Smith is not with his teammates as his fellow rookies report for training camp today. Chicago’s veterans don’t report to Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais until July 19, so this technically isn’t a holdout. If Smith still hasn’t inked a deal by Thursday, then the “H” word comes into play.
A holdout rarely does anyone any good. The player would be missing valuable prep time, and the team would be unable to incorporate a key member of the defense into the system.
With rookie contracts financially slotted these days, it’s rare a rookie can’t come to an agreement, but the snag on these first round deals is usually offset language. From former agent Joel Corr via CBS Sports.
An offset clause allows a team to reduce the guaranteed money owed to a player when he is released by the amount of his new deal with another team. The player receives his salary from the team that released him in addition to the full salary from his new contract with another club when there isn’t an offset (also known as “double dipping”).
That CBS Sports article breaks down all possible issues in first round contracts, so if you’re interested in the details it’s a good read.
Only two players drafted ahead of Smith, who was the eighth overall pick, has signed their contracts, so this isn’t out of the ordinary. The problem is with the Bears playing in the Hall Of Fame Game they are permitted to start camp early, so there’s a bigger spotlight on Smith.
A deal will get done. It’s just a matter of when.