— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 14, 2018
While we have a moment, let’s follow the money here:
#Bears first-round LB Roquan Smith flew up to Chicago last night, and he’s expected to address the media post-practice. By that point, the 8th overall pick will have signed his 4-year deal worth more than $18.4M, source said. He’s getting more than a $11.5M signing bonus. 🔏
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 14, 2018
#Bears LB Roquan Smith's deal 4 years, $18.477M. Fully guaranteed with a $11.518M signing bonus & 5th year option.
Cap hits by year:
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) August 14, 2018
In a “better late than never” scenario, linebacker Roquan Smith signed his rookie contract with the Chicago Bears and is now officially in the fold. Smith’s 29-day holdout caused him to miss the entire summer of training camp in Bourbonnais and two preseason games. But it’s time to move on now that Smith has joined his teammates for the 2018 season.
It’s been so long since we’ve talked about Smith as a player and not as that guy holding out of camp, now seems like a good time to revisit what we have written about him in the recent past.
- We got to know him (plus some highlights) once he was officially drafted
- Smith compared himself to a Vic Fangio pupil he idolized growing up
- A Bears scout shared a behind-the-scenes look at drafting Smith
- The rookie year projections suggest big things for the Georgia product
- Smith could conceivably be the prototype for a new age of inside linebackers
So why did this take so long? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio has the details of what went down in order for the Bears and Smith’s representation to come to an agreement. And as expected, it is extremely complicated.
A source tells Florio that the two sides came to an agreement on “a specific formula” that essentially allows Smith to avoid punishments that happen during a play on the field. You know it’s serious when formulas need to be concocted for a deal to get done.
These protections would be for events such as lowering the helmet, unnecessary roughness, illegal hits on a defenseless receiver, and roughing the quarterback penalties. And the only way Smith’s deal sees guarantees voided is if the NFL’s offices hand down a suspension of three games or more. Notably, the only player to receive such a punishment was Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Smith also receives protections if a suspension comes about if he is defending himself or a teammate during the course of a game. You know, something like a post-play scrum where Smith finds himself in the middle of protecting the likes of Kyle Fuller, Eddie Jackson, Leonard Floyd, or any number of teammates. However, Smith is at risk of losing guarantees if he is given a two-game suspension for a post-play incident or is ruled to be “the aggressor to an incident” that results in a one-game suspension.
From Smith’s perspective, he receives enough protections in the deal that makes it unlikely for the Bears to void contract guarantees. And from the Bears’ point of view, they still found a way to keep the door open on voiding some guarantees … but basically only if Smith turns out to be on the Burfict end of the spectrum. By all accounts, Smith is on the other end of the galaxy as far as the Burfict scale goes so there probably isn’t anything to worry about there.
Finally, we’re onto football … and Roquan Smith is officially all in.
We’ll have more on Smith and when we might first see him later today.