Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles met with the media after training camp practice Tuesday to address the Roquan Smith trade request. Smith, the two-time All-Pro linebacker, requested a trade via Twitter, saying the Bears haven’t offered him a contract that proves they value his services.
Poles said Smith’s statement isn’t true, and that his priority is to make sure he remains a Bear.
Still, there was something about Ryan Poles’ delivery that was unsettling. He looked annoyed and frustrated. Perhaps, his emotions are justified. Roquan Smith used NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport as a vessel to go public with his displeasure over the negotiations. Maybe Poles feels betrayed. It’d makes sense, in a way. If Poles was negotiating with Smith and his team in good faith, he was probably shocked when he became aware of the social media firestorm.
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Poles was careful with his words, too. He said, a few times, that he has to do what’s best for the Chicago Bears, and that Smith’s next contract has to make sense for both sides — the player and the team. Sure, that’s classic negotiation language, but the GM looked noticeably perturbed.
We’ll see where this all goes over the next few days. Roquan Smith’s trade request upped the urgency to get a deal done. If Poles doesn’t respond with an offer that makes Smith feel valued, it’s within the range of outcomes that the former first-round pick has played his last down in Chicago.
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