The Chicago Bears have finally signed their 2018 NFL Draft first round pick Roquan Smith to a four-year, $18 million dollar deal reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and rookie wage scale, Smith’s deal is $18 million slotted and has $11 million in bonuses included (meaning it is heavily incentive-laden). Smith will join the Bears promptly as they head to Denver for joint practices with the Broncos this week.
It’s doubtful however that Smith will see much of any time against Denver in an ensuing preseason game on Saturday as he’ll have only a few practices under his belt. Though, you can never rule anything out.
Bears’ LB Roquan Smith could report to the team as early as tonight and, depending on his physical condition, could make his NFL debut Saturday night at Denver vs. the Broncos.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 13, 2018
We’re still early in the fallout of this entire holdout process that was, but it’ll be interesting to see the fine print details emerge. What really caused Smith to miss his entire rookie NFL training camp? There’s been lots of finger pointing over the past month, and the facts and background will finally provide basis to what evolved into a “saga” for the Bears and Smith.
Make no mistake, we’ll see what the Bears actually conceded, even despite many public relation battles. We’ll also see what Smith and his representation in Creative Artists Agency fought for and refused to renege on for so long. The grey area of misinformation will vanish.
For more on what the hold up was with Smith’s contract, dial back into our running story-steam with everything you need to know about the Smith vs Chicago situation.
Now to the football addition of Smith.
The inside linebacker from Georgia, whom the Bears list at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, should be inserted into the starting lineup next to Danny Trevathan (if he’s healthy) relatively quickly. There is more than enough time from now until the Bears’ regular season opener against the Packers on September 9th to get Smith properly acclimated.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King recently talked about why teams aren’t necessarily looking for the 255 pound thumpers at linebacker like they’re used to, saying, “The game has changed, even from the [Brian] Urlacher era. Now it’s much more important to be an athlete and to [run] sideline-to-sideline and to be durable. We’ll see if [Smith] holds up at the point of attack and if he is as physical as he appeared to be at Georgia. But I think he’s the perfect sort of modern-day Monster of the Midway.”
Smith, at 236 pounds, definitely fits a smaller and leaner build of style. Time will tell if his frame and otherwise can last along those modern lines.
Draft scouts called Smith a plug-and-play player after his outstanding 2017 season with Georgia where he racked up 137 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries and a forced fumble. That was all en route to winning the Butkus Award, given to college football’s best linebacker.
While Smith’s numbers were impressive no doubt, scouts also loved his leadership of that defense. That’s why many feel it’s only a matter of time before Smith is donning a captain’s C with the Bears (including the Bears themselves), and the memory of this holdout is completely washed away.