The Bears Remove Roquan Smith From the PUP List, But He Doesn't Plan on Practicing

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The Bears Remove Roquan Smith From the PUP List, But He Doesn’t Plan on Practicing

Chicago Bears

When the Bears put Roquan Smith on the physically unable to perform list to start training camp, I saw it as a gesture of good faith from the front office. Smith was set to hold out from participating in training camp until his contract extension demands were met. And in a move that would keep Smith from being given fines for his refusal to attend camp, Smith was put on the PUP list. All in all, a pretty heady move by the Bears to sidestep some drama.

But now, the time has come for Smith to come off the PUP list…

… and I’m not quite sure what it means in the grand scheme of things.

In short, Smith’s removal from the PUP list means he can participate in on-field team activities again. Because Smith was on the list before camp began, Smith was able to attend team meetings, hang with his position group on the sidelines, and observe practices. But he could not practice with his teammates. Now that he is off the PUP list, Smith is eligible to practice again.

But will he?

When I saw the initial push notification from the Bears announcing the transaction, two thoughts came to mind.

OPTION A: Taking Smith off PUP was a sign that Smith and the Bears were close to deal. Not that anything was imminent, mind you. But perhaps that things were heading that way. Smith spoke his piece with a trade request on Tuesday morning. GM Ryan Poles replied in kind with his statements later in the afternoon. Sometimes, negotiations need an additional push to get rolling in the right direction. And Smith leaving the PUP list could’ve been a sign that the two sides could be ironing something out.

OPTION B: Moving Smith off PUP was the general manager’s counter move to a player airing dirty laundry resulting in the GM/organization being dragged publicly after watching private negotiations enter the public sphere. In a glorified junk-measuring contest, using the pulling of Smith off PUP is a clap-back and a call of a player’s bluff because the Bears can now fine Smith for missing practices for his holdout.

And judging by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport’s tweets, Smith plans on standing his ground:

Rapoport reporting that Smith *ISN’T* expected to return to practice despite his removal from the PUP list is an interesting development. If he doesn’t practice, he’ll face daily fines from the team. But that might not matter to smith, who wants to get paid at the top of his market. And while that can still happen, this charade complicates negotiations a tad.

Author: Luis Medina

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