Chicago Linebacker Roquan Smith Reportedly Plans to Play Out Contract with Bears

by Dustin Schutte
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The preseason contract drama between the Chicago Bears and linebacker Roquan Smith appears to have ended … for now. The fifth-year NFL veteran reportedly plans to play out the rest of his contract, which runs through 2022, with his current team.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported the news on Smith on Saturday. The linebacker returned to practice this weekend after requesting a trade out of Chicago. He called his initial decision, “deeply painful,” but said he didn’t feel valued by the new front office.

Smith has blossomed at the linebacker position for the Bears the past two seasons. He earned second-team All-Pro honors in 2020 and 2021.

Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Smith said, “This is the last year of my deal and I’m going to be on myself as I’ve always done.”

Smith’s trade request caught the organization off guard. First-year general manager Ryan Poles said he hoped to “make things right” with the linebacker, but also stated the team can’t be about “one player.”

Roquan Smith’s Trade Request Came in Early August

Roquan Smith didn’t want to request a trade out of Chicago but didn’t see any other options. In early August, the linebacker decided to voice his concerns and released a statement to Bears fans.

“I have officially requested a trade; just writing these words is deeply painful,” Smith wrote. “I haven’t had the chance to talk to the McCaskey family, and maybe they can salvage this.”

Smith also apologized to Bears fans, saying he was “sorry it came to this.”

Through his first four seasons in Chicago, Smith has played in 61 career games and piled up 524 tackles, 14 sacks and five interceptions. He’s registered 100 stops or more every year.

Now that Smith has opted back in, the Bears can focus more on the upcoming season. They’ll open the 2022 season against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Sept. 11.

Outsider.com