GM Ryan Poles: Bears ‘couldn’t find common ground’ with Roquan Smith

Bears general manager Ryan Poles said part of him was “bummed” about the outcome, but said trading linebacker Roquan Smith was a result of the two sides being close to agreement on a contract extension before the season began.

“We came up short and couldn’t find common ground,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

The Bears and Smith, he said, had a “difference in value.” Poles admitted that Smith not having an agent made negotiations more difficult for the Bears.

He eventually decided that he’d rather have the draft capital from the Ravens instead. Monday, Poles agreed to trade Smith to the Ravens for their 2023 second-round pick, 2023 fifth-round pick and veteran linebacker A.J. Klein. The Bears are paying all but $575,000 of Smith’s remaining contract, which expires at the end of the season.

Smith wanted around $100 million over five years, the contract given the Colts’ Shaquille Leonard. He “held in” during training camp and issued a public trade demand, accusing Poles of failing to negotiate in good faith.

He said it was “highly unlikely” the Bears wouldn’t have been able to agree to a new deal with Smith. The two sides did not negotiate during the season, he said, but instead gave their last and final offers in August.

The Bears could have kept Smith on the franchise tag for the next two years and paid him about $38 million total. Poles decided against it, though.

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