The Roquan Smith contract situation is a getting messier with each passing day, and now it’s getting just downright WILD.
Between the hold-in, PUP list games, and practice appearance without practicing, this is starting to shape up to be a special brand of weird. And while some of that felt inevitable — partially because we’re dealing with a rookie general manager trying to cook up a contract extension with a player representing himself in negotiations — I didn’t think it would get THIS weird:
A league source informs PFT’s Mike Florio that someone purporting to represent Smith is checking in with teams who want to make a trade for the Bears star linebacker. Earlier in the week, Smith put in a trade request in an attempt to re-boot extension negotiations that are clearly stalling.
But as Florio notes, there are some significant hangups in having some random person calling around the league like this.
First, this shadow figure isn’t an NFLPA-certified agent, and that is a problem on its own, as non-certified agents can’t represent NFL players. So that anonymous person, in order to properly do this, needs to get their ducks in a row to make anything with Roquan Smith happen (and be above board while doing so). It’s very unclear whether that has happened.
Second, Smith hasn’t been given permission to seek a trade from the Bears, and that feels important when someone is working on your behalf to find a trade partner! Remember, Smith officially represents himself. And self-representation here could be particularly problematic, as it could lead to some sort of tampering charge. What a mess. All because extension negotiations have gone nowhere and Smith doesn’t have an agent who could be the middle-man running the point. It sure would be nice to have someone who could navigate these waters without bringing on a storm.
We’ll continue to watch this situation unfold. Especially since there figure to be more layers to unpack moving forward. This is all just, well, like I said: wild.
UPDATE: Whoever was making these calls got the league involved, and they are not happy:
The league very clearly does not want to start down the path of allowing friends of friends, or whatever, to be a vehicle to contact other teams about a player under contract. It’s not a workaround that is tenable long-term, so it makes sense that the league would squash it.
UPDATE 2 (5:13 PM CT, 8/15): What in the world!? Another plot twist:
And the questions about the bigger picture issue continue …