Roquan Smith ends hold-in, will play out contract with Bears

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Linebacker Roquan Smith ends his hold-in with the Chicago Bears, but says that contract negotiations are over.

The Chicago Bears have begun the Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus era this offseason, and there is a bit of concern on the defensive side of the ball. After the team traded edge rusher Khalil Mack to the Los Angeles Chargers, the new regime entered contract negotiations with linebacker Roquan Smith, who is a free agent at the end of the upcoming season. Those talks went so poorly, that Smith requested a trade and held-in with the team.

On Saturday, Smith participated in his first training camp practice. The linebacker said that he will play out the final year of his rookie contract, but said that contract negotiations with the team are done as of now.

Roquan Smith plans to play out the remainder of contract with Bears

Having Smith back for the 2022 season is good news, but the looming contract talks at the end of the campaign will be stressful for the fanbase.

Back on Aug. 9, Smith released a statement announcing his trade request, and his words towards the new regime were blunt. Smith wrote his belief that the team did not value him and that they were “trying to take advantage of [him].” That, and he said the deal the Bears offered him was bad for himself “and the entire linebacker market” if he signed it.

Now, Smith is going to head into the season looking to prove himself, playing on his fifth-year option worth $9.74 million.

After a solid career with the Georgia Bulldogs, Smith was selected by the Bears with the eighth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Through his first four seasons in Chicago, Smith recorded 524 combined tackles, 17 defended passes, 14 sacks, and five interceptions. Smith was named to the All Pro Second-Team in 2020 and 2021.

Smith will play in 2022. But will this be his last with the Bears?’

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