Bears LB Roquan Smith set to hold out of training camp due to issues with contract

Even if he’s gone overlooked, Roquan Smith has compiled a stellar career to this point.

He desires a contract that mirrors it, and since the Bears have yet to offer such a deal, Smith won’t be participating in training camp when veterans report on Tuesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday. Smith has yet to receive an offer “he would remotely consider,” per Rapoport, so he will continue to wait for a more serious proposal before considering taking the field.

Smith is set to earn $9.735 million on the final year of his rookie contract, and he is subject to fines for missing camp.

Despite not yet reaching the Pro Bowl, Smith has earned two straight second-team All-Pro selections. Those closely watching the game — media members holding All-Pro votes — have recognized his abilities and production, although Pro Football Focus hasn’t been as kind to the linebacker, handing out a 67.2 as Smith’s highest single-season defensive grade. The general Pro Bowl voting fanbase has also hesitated to praise Smith, instead directing its attention elsewhere at linebacker.

There seems to be a split on Smith’s standing in NFL circles, which could explain the gap in offered compensation and market value. What isn’t up for debate, however, is Smith’s production.

The former Georgia standout has played in 12 or more games in every season, and appeared in every contest in the last two campaigns. He’s recorded one or more interceptions and at least 101 tackles in every year he’s played, while racking up 14 sacks between 2018 and 2021.

Chicago has declined from a fringe playoff contender to a rebuilding club during Smith’s time there, but that’s not due to his play. As one of the key members of the team’s future with the end of his rookie contract in sight, Smith is ready to sign a long-term deal that accurately compensates him.

It will be up to Chicago to present such an offer, should the Bears deem that appropriate. Until then, Smith will protect his most important asset: his physical health.

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