After weeks of turmoil surrounding Roquan Smith’s holdout, Mr. Smith has finally decided to return to practice after fully realizing that the Bears have the upper hand.
Or Do they?
Yes, the Bears hold his contract rights to play this season without ‘having’ to give him a new contract.
Yes, Roquan could hold out the entire season, but that would only hurt his bank account and possibly his future by doing so.
Yes, the Bears can easily decide to place the Franchise Tag on him after this season in hopes of retaining him.
But who really lost out on this deal, Roquan or the Bears?
The answer in my opinion is the Bears.
There are a number of factors I take into account when evaluating this fiasco. By not getting the deal done this year, the Bears lost out on an additional year of ‘up front’ pay to a key player and a team leader at a time when they can easily afford it. Big deals for players like Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Jaylon Johnson and soon to be Justin Fields (if he is as good as we all hope he will be) are right around the corner.
If what we have heard about the contract that the Bears offered Mr. Smith being ‘back end’ loaded is true, how on earth would that have even benefited the Bears? Assuming the above mentioned players (plus additional ones not even mentioned) are retained with larger contracts, it would have made more sense for the Bears to have offered Roquan the exact OPPOSITE with a ‘front end’ loaded contract. In similar fashion to how the Steelers operate.
By doing so, they make Mr. Smith a happy man and they make the Chicago Bears organization a happy team by freeing up future money for future foundational players/star players.
By doing so, they are paying him THIS season, essentially moving the five year time slot of “Roquan Money” up by one entire season.
By doing so, Roquan would be turning 30 years old, instead of 31 at the end of the five year contract. Perhaps at age 30 it would have made adding a couple of extra years to the end of the contract a little easier. Perhaps……just perhaps, Roquan would have been trustworthy enough with how the Bears handled this current contract situation combined with the situation the team is in five years from now, to give them a veteran hometown discount to remain on a winning team.
Yes, Roquan is stepping away from his hold-in to join the Bears and play this season.
Yes, The Bears will place the franchise tag on Roquan Smith after this season.
Will that only sour the relationship even more between the two sides resulting in a trade?
Sadly my answer is……YES