Head Coach Matt Nagy might have his concerns about Roquan’s Smith continued absence from training camp, but he’s not letting it show publicly.
“I’m at a point right now where I just want to focus on who’s here and that’s all,” Nagy said, via Chris Emma of 670 The Score. “Control what we can control, control what I can control, and those are the guys that we have.”
We are now going on 24 days since Bears rookies – minus Smith – reported to camp and there’s this inescapable feeling that there’s no end in sight. And if you were holding out hope that the team could swing a deal with the Raiders for Khalil Mack with Smith as a headliner in the package, don’t bet on it. According to league rules, a rookie who hasn’t signed with their team by August 7 can’t be traded to another team in 2018 and can sign only with the team that drafted him until the day of the 2019 NFL Draft. And since August 7 was yesterday, that option appears to be out the window.
At this point, it’s going to come down to the Bears and Smith coming together on a deal. With that in mind, let’s look ahead to the next important deadline – November 13. The deadline for the Bears and Smith to come to a deal is 3 p.m. central on November 13. And if Smith remains unsigned, he won’t be able to play in the 2018 season. It would be quite a waste of a year from both the player and team perspective. But if you’re looking for the bright side, it’s not as if Smith can sign anywhere else.
Smith has already missed out on a whole lot of valuable practice reps and is on the cusp of missing a second preseason game. Sure, the Bears have a solid starting pair of middle linebackers to go along with reserves who have starting experience, but Smith was projected to be a game-changer who lifted the group to another level. It’s hard to do that while on the sideline without a contract.
We’re also starting to feel a sense of angst settling in among the fan base. It’s understandable that fans want to see a player on their favorite team actually show up and get in on the action, but we should find ourselves sensitive to the reality of the situation. We’re not going to remember this holdout if Smith plays to his abilities, much like the only time Joey Bosa’s holdout happens to be referenced is when others who came after him followed with one of their own. I’d like to preach patience here and advise that Bears fans not turn on someone the organization felt was going to be a defensive leader, but I suppose, at this point, anything is possible.
Hopefully, a deal gets done and we can all start pulling from the same side of the rope again.