With the NFL setting the salary cap for the 2021 season at $182.5 million, that also means that the fifth-year option numbers are finalized for players that were drafted in the first-round of the 2018 NFL Draft. For the Chicago Bears, that means they have until May 3 to exercise the fifth-year option on inside linebacker Roquan Smith to the tune of $9,735,000.
The way that number was calculated is based on an escalating tier system set forth in the last CBA and here are the criteria for each of those.
I. Players selected to 2 or more Pro Bowls
II. Players selected to 1 Pro Bowl
III. Players who achieve playtime criterion (no Pro Bowls)
IV. Players who do not achieve any playtime criterion
With no Pro Bowls and over 75% of the Bears snaps on defense during from 2018-2020, Smith falls into the third category.
While this years cap has dropped significantly, it’s expected the cap will shoot back up in 2022, which makes picking up Smith’s option a no-brainer.
He made the All-Pro 2nd-Team last season by filling the stat sheet with 139 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He’s led the Bears in tackles each of his three years, and he’s the signal caller of a defense that will be transitioning to Sean Desai’s playbook.