It finally happened. Roquan Smith was on the practice field for the Chicago Bears, having ended his “hold-in” over contract negotiations.
In the end, a deal did not get done. Talks are over with, and Smith is going to bet on himself this year.
While initially it is a positive, and fans are thrilled to see the team’s best linebacker on the field again, not everything about this end result is sunshine and rainbows. Sure, Smith is back for the 2022 season — but that’s it, for right now.
He intends to play out this year, and you better believe he wants a payday by the end of this season. But, Ryan Poles has already given his two cents on what he believes Smith is worth. So, while it’s nice to have him back, fans cannot expect this thing to end on a high note come the 2023 offseason.
Getting Roquan Smith back is a positive, but the end result may not be so fruitful for the Chicago Bears.
Let’s not forget one major part of this thing: Smith did request a trade. That happened — and it happened for a reason. When speaking to the media Saturday, Smith called the entire situation very “distasteful” on the organization’s part.
We cannot pretend that he won’t open up to his teammates about those negotiations. Maybe he does keep them to himself, but his emotions were apparent throughout this process. There is no doubt he was hurt by the conversations between he and the Bears.
As I have said before, his teammates pay attention to these types of things. This is a brand-new regime under Poles. What happened with Smith speaks volumes to the other guys — and mentally, some of them may wonder whether or not Poles values them long-term. It can become a mental game, full of questions, for some of these guys.
If Smith is able to come to an agreement with the Bears on a deal next offseason, then maybe all is forgiven and forgotten. But, the way he felt he was treated should be noted, because that might just affect some of his teammates.
The other aspect of this entire situation is if the Bears opt to use the franchise tag on Smith next year, how that affects him and his teammates. We’ve seen it turn bad in recent history, with a guy like Allen Robinson basically quitting out there on the field after things went sour with the Bears.
Smith has seemed to handle this thing well, by all accounts, and even seemed open to the franchise tag when talking to the media Saturday afternoon. But, these things can turn badly in a hurry.
Just because Smith is back, for now, doesn’t mean the future is brighter for the Bears. Long-term, Chicago should choose to keep Smith around. Not many would argue that the Bears are better off without him, so we’ll just have to put this situation on the back burner for a few months and see how it all plays out.