Veteran players report to Halas Hall Tuesday for 2022 Chicago Bears training camp and reports emerged Monday that one player would be noticeably absent.
Roquan Smith, the Chicago Bears’ most important and best defensive player, will hold out from camp as he wants a new contract, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.
Smith doesn’t have a Pro-Bowl or first-team All-Pro on his resume, but he’s twice been a second-team All-Pro and is the team’s biggest star, other than Justin Fields. Considering Fields’ unknown, it’s safe to say that Smith is currently the Bears’ face of the franchise.
The linebacker is entering the final year of his rookie deal, as the team picked up his fifth-year option before last season, which was a no-brainer by then-GM Ryan Pace.
Poles stated earlier this year that getting a deal done for Smith was a priority, but little in the way of rumors of a deal being imminent.
There haven’t been a ton of inside linebacker deals in recent years. The most recent signing was the Indianapolis Colts’ Darius Leonard deal, which was five years, $98.5 million with $33 million guaranteed. Bobby Wagner, who is 31, signed a five-year, $50 million deal with $10 million guaranteed and signed earlier this offseason.
What should a Roquan Smith deal look like? Does he deserve an extension now?