Earlier today at Soldier Field following Family Fest, Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles addressed the media to give a statement about Roquan Smith’s recent trade demand.
“I’ll double down on what I’ve said before.” Poles said in his impromptu presser, “my feelings for Roquan haven’t changed at all. I think he’s a very good football player. I love the kid. I love what he’s done on the field, which makes me really disappointed with where we’re at right now.”
In case you missed it, this morning Smith made a trade demand public via the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“I thought we’d be in a better situation, to be completely honest with you,” Poles continued. “In terms of our philosophy in the front office, I’ve always believed and always will that we take care of our homegrown talent. We pay them. We take care of them. And we take care of them for what they’ve done and what they can become in the future.”
Smith is possibly looking for a deal in the neighborhood of recent contracts given to the 49ers’ Fred Warner and the Colts’ Shaquille Leonard, two other prominent off-ball linebackers, but then again, he could be looking for something that would surpass those.
“And with this situation, we’ve showed respect from a very early time frame,” Poles said, “and with that said, there’s record-setting pieces of this contract that I knew for a fact… I thought was gonna show him the respect that he deserves, and obviously that hasn’t been the case. With that said, we can’t lose sight that this isn’t about one player. My job is to build a roster that’s going to sustain success for a long period of time, and at the end of the day, we got to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears.”
Poles goes on to reiterate that his intentions are “to sign Roquan to this team,” so this negotiation, which has now gone public, is back in Smith’s court.
Smith doesn’t have an agent to negotiate on his behalf, so it’s unknown where he’s being advised on his worth to NFL teams.
Our guy Bill Zimmerman, who often has solid information from his sources has some thoughts on the subject.
The Roquan situation: #Bears most likely fluffing up AAV on his contract with non-guaranteed money at end of the deal, making it appear more lucrative than it actually is. What's also likely is that Roquan is asking for quite a bit above the 5/100/55 type deal he should receive.— Bill Zimmerman (@ZimmermanSXM) August 9, 2022
And Greg Gabriel, who has seen his fair share of contract disputes during his time working in the NFL has some as well.
Everyone is getting all excited over the Roquan negotiations, relax…. Asking for a trade is all part of the process. The deal will get done— Greg Gabriel (@greggabe) August 9, 2022
“People seem to forget… Roquan is under contract this year,” Gabriel adds. “If he wants to get paid and earn an accrued year of service, he will play. Bears have the option to franchise him next year. The club has more options than the player.”
Rapoport was on 670 The Score earlier today and he alluded that Cliff Stein, Chicago’s SVP and General Counsel, has been difficult for Roquan and his people to work with.
Also noted the deal is heavily backloaded, the last year of the deal is artificially inflating the APY https://t.co/VEjipLUFOu— Brad Spielberger, Esq. (@PFF_Brad) August 9, 2022
You can check out Poles’ press conference right here.