So Now Off-Field Discipline Is *NOT* the Issue Holding Things up for Roquan Smith?

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So Now Off-Field Discipline Is *NOT* the Issue Holding Things up for Roquan Smith?

Chicago Bears

The drama between the Chicago Bears and Roquan Smith (re: the rookie’s first NFL contract) took another turn, fittingly enough, in primetime on Thursday.

During the second quarter of the Bears’ 17-16 loss to the Ravens at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, NBC Sports sideline reporter Michele Tafoya offered an update regarding Smith’s contract holdout. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s another twist in this summer’s epic contract saga: “I’m told what is holding things up is the contract language in the previously reported behavior clause,” Tafoya explained. “Specifically, that although Smith is not looking for protection of his guarantees for off-the-field behavior, he is looking to be protected from having his guarantees voided over a limited scope of on-the-field suspensions that might result from a fight or an illegal hit.”

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that a behavioral clause was the main issue keeping Smith from signing his rookie contract and reporting to training camp with the Bears, but it appears off-the-field discipline is not an issue keeping the two sides from coming together on a deal.

In what appears to be a breakthrough for the two sides inching toward an agreement, a league source informed Tafoya that Smith and his representatives don’t have any more concerns about guarantees getting voided due to a suspension stemming from the new helmet rule, which was on full display on Thursday. That Smith and his team no longer have concerns regarding that aspect of the contract language is a relief and feels like a step in the right direction when you consider that was reportedly one of the issues keeping Smith from camp.

Concerns about Smith being out of shape when he (eventually) reports were put to rest when Tafoya reported that Smith was working out and in tremendous shape at home in Athens, Ga. Tafoya also added a nugget from Bears GM Ryan Pace, who had no doubts about Smith being in good enough shape to get up to speed quickly.

John Timu and Jonathan Anderson were in the middle for the Bears on Thursday, though they’ll take a backseat to Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski when the regular season rolls around. Smith will join that rotation once a contract gets done and will eventually begin his path toward becoming a starter. Of course, a deal has to get done first to set that all in motion.



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.