NOTE: The Bears officially announced on Tuesday that they have picked up Smith’s fifth-year option. This article has been updated to reflect that information.
The Chicago Bears have picked up the fifth-year option on linebacker Roquan Smith, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Tuesday. The move will see Smith make $9.735 million in 2022 and place him under team control for an additional year.
This move was widely expected, considering Smith’s stellar performance in the 2020 season. With his break-out season and a relatively cheap price tag for his level of play, picking up his fifth-year option means that he won’t enter free agency until the 2023 offseason.
Smith, 24, broke out with a career year in 2020 that saw him named as a second-team All-Pro for the first time since entering the NFL. The No. 8 overall pick in 2018, the Georgia alumnus finished with 139 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, 4 sacks, 7 pass deflections and 2 interceptions this past season. His tackling totals saw him finish sixth in the league, and his tackles for a loss placed fourth.
Over the course of his three-year career, Smith has topped the 100-tackle mark in every single season. He has 361 tackles and 11 sacks in his career thus far, and with how high of the level he is playing at at a young age, he figures to be a long-term stalwart for the Bears’ defense for years to come.
Smith is now the second of Ryan Pace’s four first-round picks to have had their fifth-year option picked up. Leonard Floyd was the other player to have his option exercised, but it was later rescinded with his release upon the Bears’ signing of Robert Quinn. Both Kevin White and Mitchell Trubisky had their options declined.
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