The Chicago Bears’ first-round pick hasn’t arrived at camp just yet, but no one seems to be worried about it.
General Manager Ryan Pace expressed confidence that a deal with rookie linebacker Roquan Smith would get done and that the team’s top draft choice would be joining his teammates at training camp in Bourbonnais soon:
#Bears GM Ryan Pace on unsigned first-round draft pick Roquan Smith: "We're optimistic he'll be here soon. We know it's a process."
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) July 19, 2018
Trust the process, am I right?
Smith made headlines by not showing up to training camp on Monday with the rest of the team’s rookies. The parameters of a deal are certainly in place. But as is often the case, there are some loose ends regarding offset language and roster bonus fine print that needs to be worked out before pen meets paper. And judging by what the Bears’ GM said on Thursday, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before that happens.
The Bears drafted Smith with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and he figures to be plugged into a starting role at inside linebacker next to Danny Trevathan right away. And while it might be difficult for that to happen if Smith undergoes a lengthy hold out, remember that he did not miss any time during the Bears’ offseason training program. It feels important that we should keep that in mind when discussing this situation.
Smith showed up and participated at all the mini-camps without any hassle, just like 2017 first-round pick Mitch Trubisky. And while Trubisky signed a deal right when training camp started, he didn’t miss a beat because he was also all-in during the offseason training program. Smith is ultra-talented and has been praised for his instincts and intangibles, so I can imagine him picking things up quickly once a deal finally gets done.