Another week has come and gone without the Chicago Bears reaching a contract agreement with first-round pick Roquan Smith.
As the saga continues, the latest update isn’t one that brings much hope:
"The Bears are very dug in. They believe the precedent (on-field, non-football related fines) is unacceptable." -Dan Bernstein on the Roquan Smith situation, adding there has been zero contact between the two parties
— Bernstein & McKnight (@Bernstein_McK) August 9, 2018
Dan Bernstein of 670 The Score says the Bears are reportedly “very dug in” when it comes to their side of negotiations. The team appears to be making it quite clear that they want no part of setting precedent for future negotiations by giving into Smith’s requests for his rookie deal. On the other side of the negotiation, Smith and his representation apparently want to ensure that contract guarantees that are ensured by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement can’t be retroactively taken away. It’s evident both sides have their reasons that explain why this deal has yet to come to fruition.
Worse, Bernstein’s “zero contact” comments suggests that neither side wants to budge and could exemplify how tenuous things are between the team and Smith’s representatives at CAA. In any case, a resolution doesn’t seem imminent.
Yesterday, we discussed what’s next for Smith in the process. The Bears have until November 13 to sign Smith, who’ll be ineligible to play if a deal isn’t done by that date. So while Smith can’t sign with another team, the University of Georgia product could conceivably wait it out until the 2019 NFL Draft and try to become draft-eligible again should both sides still find themselves at an impasse. That would be a worst-case scenario for the Bears, who would miss out on a top-10 pick, and for Smith, who would go more than a calendar year between meaningful football snaps.
Still, it’s not quite time to press the panic button regarding Smith’s future. Should the Bears and Smith come to an agreement soon, the team could get him into the swing of things during the upcoming joint practices with the Broncos in Denver. From there, Smith would have three preseason games to get into gear. Smith would probably be on an accelerated program, but it would be for the sake of making up for lost time.
As it stands, the holdout will now have kept Smith from participating in at least two preseason games. And while he didn’t figure to get much game action in either contest, Smith has missed more than three weeks of practice time – which could be more valuable than a few series of game snaps. It’s time to get something done, but it’s clear that both sides have work to do before it happens.