How the Bears’ unresolved contract situation with Roquan Smith just got more complicated

In the latest development in a simmering stalemate between the Chicago Bears and Pro Bowl linebacker Roquan Smith, the situation got worse and more complicated.

That’s in the wake of the NFL Board of Directors sending a note to all teams alleging that a person not licensed as an agent by the NFL Players Association has been in contact with other teams regarding a possible trade for Smith.

Save your draft. Save your team. Earn money.

NFL disagrees with adviser to Roquan Smith

The memo said that the individual is Saint Omni. Omni is a veteran financial advisor who has advised other NFL players who have represented themselves without an agent. Players may receive financial advice in contract talks from outside advisers, as Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is without a formal agent.

The memo stated: “That a person by the name of Saint Omni, who is not an NFLPA certified agent, is contacting clubs stating that he represents Roquan Smith, who is under contract with the Chicago Bears. Mr. Omni is prohibited from negotiating player contracts or discussing potential trades on behalf of any NFL player or prospective player or assisting or advising with respect to such negotiations.”

And the memo reminded all teams of the rules regarding talking to anyone who isn’t an agent or other representatives of a player, including agents.

If it was the Bears who informed the NFL that they had a problem with business discussions, formal or informal, conducted by Smith’s adviser, that would obviously be detrimental to the relationship between the team and Smith’s camp.

What are the rules on business discussions?

“Unless a prospective club has received written permission from the employing club, entering into discussions with a player or his agent about his club’s interest in acquiring the player through a trade or otherwise is a violation of the Policy. against manipulation,” the memorandum said.

“Under no circumstances should a prospective club rely on any written or oral statement from a player or his agent that he has received permission to enter into trade or contract talks. A prospective club should also not rely on a letter from the employing club to the agent or player granting such permission, as employing clubs generally reserve the right to withdraw permission at any time and may have already done so.

“Written permission must be received directly from the employing club. Any employer who decides to grant a player or his agent permission to seek a trade with another club, whether or not such permission extends to entering into contract negotiations in conjunction with a trade, may contact the Board of Directors regarding the language appropriate to preserve the rights of the employing club. .

“Under no circumstances should an employer give oral permission to a player or his representative to view a trade or enter into contract negotiations with another club.”

Smith has already requested a trade

Smith, who is owed $9 million this year in the final year of his rookie deal and was previously represented by Todd France, should definitely get a significant pay raise.

The Bears and Smith were already far apart in contract negotiations due to their offer being delayed, according to league sources, with much of the compensation later in the contract and also containing de-escalation clauses not normally included in contracts. important agreements.

Smith, who has formally requested a trade, wants to become the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL and top Indianapolis Colts linebacker Shaquille Leonard’s five-year, $99.2 million contract signed last year that includes $52.5 million guaranteed.

Smith isn’t practicing, in a classic “hold-in” that has become the trend in NFL contract disputes. He recently he was activated by the team.

It’s hard to say if the gap can be closed, but it doesn’t look good at the moment. A league source predicted this feud will drag into the season.

What is not in doubt is Smith’s abilities. He is an excellent linebacker who has recorded 524 career tackles, five interceptions, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery and 14 sacks in 61 games since he was drafted eighth out of Georgia in 2018.

Smith is an athletic, versatile and hard-hitting linebacker who is currently not being compensated at a level that reflects his status as one of the best defensive players in the NFL. That may change, but the Bears and Smith have to be on the same page to achieve that goal.

what the bears say

Bears general manager Ryan Poles recently weighed in on Smith’s situation.

“I’m going to double down on what I’ve said before. My feelings for Roquan haven’t changed at all,” said Poles, who was hired this offseason after previously working for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I think he is a very good soccer player. I love the kid. I love what he has done on the field, which is very disappointing of where we are now. I thought we’d be in a better situation, to be completely honest with you. In terms of our philosophy at the front office, I have always believed and will always believe that we take care of our local talent.

“We pay them. We care for them and take them all for what they have done and what they can become in the future. And with this situation, we’ve shown respect from a very early period of time, and with that said, there are record-setting parts of this contract that I thought were going to show him the respect he deserves, and obviously, that hasn’t been the case. been the case.”

This has quickly turned into a frustration and a battle of wills between the Bears front office and one of Chicago’s best players in recent years.

Smith is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022 after posting 163 tackles, three sacks and an interception last season. The Bears, of course, could designate him as their franchise player, but it’s hard to see that happening given the tenor of this unfinished business between the NFC North franchise and one of its most talented players.

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