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Bears star linebacker Roquan Smith requests trade after breakdown in contract talks

The Bears plan to continue to work for a contract extension with Roquan Smith.Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Poles plans to continue to work for a contract extension with linebacker Roquan Smith instead of his request to be traded.

Smith, who is under contract through the 2022 season, is staging a “hold-in” and attending practices without actually practicing until he gets an extension, but Tuesday he made public an official request for a trade.

“Right now my intentions are to sign Roquan to this team,” Poles said Tuesday. “And we’re going to take it day by day. At the end of the day we’ve got to do what’s best for this organization. But my intentions are to make sure Roquan Smith’s on this team.”


Smith practiced with the team throughout the offseason voluntary and mandatory work, but was not participating on the field when training camp began.

“Unfortunately the new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote on Twitter. “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of the journey has been ‘take it or leave it.’

“The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself and for the entire LB market if I signed it.'”

Smith does not have an agent and is trying to negotiate for himself.

“I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.”

Smith, the No. 8 overall draft pick in 2018, was second-team All-Pro in 2020 and 2021. He is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.

Where will Smith end up at the start of the 2022 season?Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

The Bears made big changes after going 6-11 last season and missing the playoffs for the ninth time in 11 years. They fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy and replaced them with Poles and Matt Eberflus.

The Bears plan to use Smith as a weakside linebacker in their new 4-3 scheme.


“I’ll double down on what I’ve said before: My feelings for Roquan haven’t changed at all,” Poles said. “I think he’s a very good football player. I love the kid. I love what he’s done on the field, which makes me really disappointed with where we’re at right now.

“I thought we’d be in a better situation, to be completely honest with you.”

Smith said he hasn’t talked to team ownership. He left the door ajar for the McCaskey family to “salvage this.”

“But as of right now, I don’t see a path back to the organization I truly love,” he wrote.