He’s been ignored, but Roquan Smith has had an impressive career thus far. Since the Bears have yet to offer him such a contract, Smith will not participate in training camp when veterans return on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. Until he gets a more serious offer, Smith isn’t going to take the field.
Smith’s rookie deal has one year left, and he will get $9.7 million, plus fines if he misses training camp. Despite not yet making the Pro Bowl, Smith has been named to the second-team All-Pro for the last two seasons.
Many in the media — including those who cast All-Pro ballots — have noticed Smith’s talent and performance, but Pro Football Focus hasn’t been so kind, awarding him a defensive grade of 67.2, his highest in a single season. The broader public has also been reluctant to appreciate Smith, preferring instead to focus on the linebacker position.
There appears to be a schism in NFL circles about Smith’s standing, which could explain the discrepancy between the salary he’s being offered and the market value. Smith’s productivity, on the other hand, is unquestionable.
For the past two seasons, he has appeared in every game and has played in at least 12 in each of those seasons. One or more interceptions and at least 101 tackles have been recorded in each of the last three seasons he’s played, while 14 sacks have been registered.
Smith isn’t to blame for Chicago’s fall from a playoff contender to a rebuilding team during his time in the Windy City. Smith is eager to negotiate a long-term contract that correctly pays him as one of the team’s future stars.
His rookie contract is nearing its end. To make such an offer, Chicago will have to convince the Bears that it is appropriate. In the meantime, Smith will safeguard his most valuable asset: his physical well-being.
The Bears chose to exercise Smith’s fifth-year option, securing him a $9.7 million salary for the 2022 season. It was September 19 when Smith intercepted a pass and returned it 53 yards for a score in the Cincinnati Bengals‘ 20–17 triumph.
November 8 saw the Bears lose 29–27 on Monday Night Football to the Seattle Seahawks, with Smith recording a sack and 12 total tackles. Smith had a career-high 17 tackles on November 21 against the Baltimore Ravens, including two for losses.
As far as the number of stops made by one Bear, it was the most since 2006, when Brian Urlacher had 19 stops in a single game. A fifth-place finish in the NFL ranks Smith with one interception and 163 total tackles. Second team All-Pro by the Associated Press and NFL.com.com All-Pro.
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