Roquan Smith, who began training camp on the physically unable to perform list – despite no known injury or ailment, remains on the sidelines as the Bears are in the midst of their second week of training camp. And while it is nice to see Smith at Halas Hall on the sidelines with teammates, signing autographs, and posing for selfies with fans after practice, I (and other Bears fans) miss watching No. 58 get after it on the turf.
But as we know by now, Smith won’t be putting on the pads until a resolution comes regarding the contract extension he seeks. Sigh. What is it with this team and struggling to reach extensions with players who you’d think the franchise would want to keep around?
On Monday, Head Coach Matt Eberflus was asked if the team was progressing on a Roquan Smith extension. And while Eberflus made note that he couldn’t give a proper update on the situation since he isn’t in the middle of those discussions, he did give us one morsel worth latching onto in terms of a timetable when asked if Smith’s absence was a detriment to the defense:
“You’ve gotta play it day-by-day. And I think that it’s going to be what it is. So, when he gets off PUP, and he’s working with Ryan (Poles) to get that done, we’ll see what happens and it’s day by day. When it happens, we’ll make our adjustments.”
In other words, Smith’s placement on the PUP list is directly related to his contract situation. No shocker here, but there is nothing wrong with just putting it out there for full disclosure and clarity purposes. Also? If you’re looking for someone to provide a timetable for when Smith will be off the PUP list, then you might want to knock on Ryan Poles’ door. Smith’s return hinges on negotiations between him and Poles.
Unfortunately, to this point, one national NFL reporter hints that it might be a while before we reach a conclusion. Because in a recent appearance on David Kaplan’s Unfiltered, Albert Breer — who pens SI.com’s MMQB column — said, “they definitely got a ways to go when it comes to a long-term deal.” You can watch the appearance in its entirety here.
Between Breer’s commentary and NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport saying Smith hasn’t gotten an offer “he would remotely consider” when news of the hold-in broke, it really does feel like the two sides are a long way away from finding a middle ground. Then again, this is how some negotiations will go. All it takes is for one conversation to bridge that financial gap. We’ll continue to monitor the situation as it develops.