Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith has requested a trade following an impasse in contract negotiations. Smith is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract and is seeking a new deal that will pay him at or near the top of the inside linebacker market.
Smith’s trade request was shared by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport Tuesday and sent a firestorm through Bears Twitter. It’s surprising to see how many fans are against the idea of paying Smith a lucrative second contract. The popular argument against a new deal is the lack of positional value; it’s bad business, some would say, to pay an off-ball linebacker $20 million per season.
I respectfully disagree. In fact, I believe the Chicago Bears should pay Roquan Smith the contract he’s seeking. I’d be fine if Smith becomes the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL. To become that, he’ll need to ink a deal that pays more than Shaquille Leonard’s $19.7 million per year. Leonard signed a five-year, $98.5 million deal in August 2021.
Here are four reasons why re-signing Roquan Smith is good business.