Roquan Smith Requested A Trade From The Bears After Being ‘Offended’ By Their Contract Offer

When the Chicago Bears drafted Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, it seemed like a perfect fit. Here was one of the best middle linebacker prospects in years going to a franchise that has arguably the greatest lineage of middle linebackers of any team in the NFL.

Since being drafted, Smith has played in 61 of a possible 65 games, missing four games to injury in 2019, and has eclipsed 101 tackles in every season, including a preposterous 163 last year (95 solo). He has five career interceptions and 43 career tackles for loss, serving as the central cog in the Bears stout defense, but entering a contract year, Smith has not received the offer he feels he deserves for being one of the best middle linebackers in all of football.

As such, on Tuesday, Smith publicly requested a trade from the organization, asking to be dealt to a team that “truly values what I bring to the table” after being offered a “take it or leave it” contract that Smith says would’ve been bad for him and the linebacker market as a whole to take.

According to Ian Rapoport, the deal in question featured backloaded money that would’ve left his deal shy of being the highest among middle linebackers in the league, along with de-escalators that no one else making his kind of money has in their deal.

As Smith notes, it’s possible the Bears could come correct with an offer and salvage the relationship, but as of this moment, he won’t be putting pen to paper on any deal that’s similar to what they’ve offered him. It’d be one thing if this was an issue of a guarantee amount and signing bonus, but to backload a deal and put de-escalators in it that could pay him less when literally no one else of his stature has those in their contract is pretty blatantly disrespectful of Smith and it’s hard to blame him for making this decision — although surely some will.

Someone out there will happily pay for a tackling machine in the middle of their defense and we’ll just have to wait to find out who that is — but it’ll more likely than not be a contender or fringe contender.