Roquan Smith decided his holdout during training camp wasn’t getting the desired results he wanted from the Chicago Bears. So he decided to up the stake, putting out a written statement accusing the team of trying to take advantage of him and not negotiating in good faith. He thus requested a trade, saying he’d like to stay, but only the McCaskey family might be able to say it. Anybody with common sense could tell this was a negotiating tactic. That didn’t stop plenty of fans from believing what he said. ESPN insider Adam Schefter was hearing something different.
He appeared on Waddle & Silvy for ESPN 1000 to discuss the matter. It is clear there is a disconnect between the two sides. GM Ryan Poles expressed confusion at Smith’s announcement on Tuesday, believing the two sides were making progress. He felt the Bears had made an offer to the young linebacker in stark contrast to the idea they’re trying to “take advantage” of him. Based on what Schefter is hearing, Poles was telling the truth.
“My view from the outside is that the Bears have made a number of what sounds like, to me, compelling offers. Now I could be proven otherwise. I’ve chatted about some offers with some other people connected to the Bears and I’ve run those numbers past other teams and they’re like, ‘Wow.’ In their mind, they feel like it’s fair. Obviously, Roquan Smith doesn’t. He feels like he’s being mistreated. That’s his perspective. We’ll see where this goes.”
Adam Schefter adds credence to the rumor that Smith is the problem.
Jeff Hughes of Da Bears Blog said a week ago that Smith’s camp wants to blow the linebacker market up. He doesn’t just want to be the highest-paid at his position. He wants to hit a mark that nobody else is even close to. The Bears understandably balked at such an idea. While they’re willing to pay him top money, they aren’t prepared to do something so irresponsible. Not for a position that most consider significantly less critical than, say, pass rushers and cornerbacks.
That isn’t being cheap. It is being responsible. Poles must do what is best for the team. He is willing to give Smith a substantial payday, just not a record-breaking one. Adam Schefter makes it clear enough that the team hasn’t been trying to lowball him. Merely seeking a deal that works for both sides. With no agent to help explain this, it appears Smith took the process personally. Now he may have made matters worse for himself rather than better.
Chicago removed him from the PUP list on Wednesday. That means he won’t be getting his full salary anymore. The only way he gets paid is by returning to practice. Not doing so opens him up to fines as well. He chose to play hardball. So the Bears responded. One can’t help but feel he overplayed his hand.