CHICAGO (670 The Score) -- Bears general manager Ryan Poles on Tuesday afternoon expressed hope that the organization will sign star linebacker Roquan Smith to a long-term extension while also admitting he was disappointed to learn about Smith's trade request.
The 25-year-old Smith released a statement to the NFL Network earlier in the morning in which he claimed the Bears' new regime has "refused to negotiate in good faith" and "doesn't value" him in Chicago. For those reasons, Smith requested a trade out of Chicago. For his part, Poles believes the Bears' offers to Smith have been reflective of a fair negotiating process.
Smith has declined to work with an agent and elected to represent himself in negotiations for a contract extension. He's due $9.735 million in fully guaranteed salary in 2022 as part of the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Smith is conducting a contract hold-in during training camp, as he's present at the facility and in meetings but not participating in practices.
“My feelings for Roquan haven’t changed at all,” Poles said. “I think he’s a very good football player. I love the kid, love what he’s done on the field, which makes me very disappointed with where we’re at right now. I thought we’d be in a better situation to be completely honest.
“I’ve always believed and always will that we take care of our homegrown talent. We pay them, we take care of them and take them for what they’ve done and can be in the future. With this situation, we showed respect from a very early timeframe. With that said, there are record-setting pieces to this contract that I thought was going to show him the respect that he deserves. Obviously, that hasn’t been the case.
“We can’t lose sight that this isn’t about one player. My job is about building a roster that’s going to sustain success for a long period of time. And at the end of the day, we got to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears.
“At the end of the day, we got to do what’s best for this organization. But my intentions are to make sure Roquan Smith is on this team.”
The No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Smith has emerged as a key leader and player for the Bears. Smith played a full 17-game season in 2021, recording 163 combined tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, three sacks and an interception. If he returns to action for the Bears, Smith is set to play the weak-side linebacker position for new head coach Matt Eberflus’ defense.
“There are few things that surprise you,” Eberflus said. “You take it for what it is and you move forward.”
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.