LAKE FOREST – The very interesting saga that’s taken place between the Bears and linebacker Roquan Smith during this training camp had another twist after the team’s workout on Wednesday afternoon.
The team announced that the fifth-year player has been removed from the PUP list, which would clear him to begin on-field activities immediately. The Bears’ next workout is scheduled for Thursday and is the last one before the team faces the Chiefs in their preseason opener on Saturday afternoon at Soldier Field.
This move by the Bears comes a day after Smith announced that he requested a trade from the Bears in a statement to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport as negotiations for a long-term contract negotiations have stalled.
By removing Smith from the PUP list, the ball is in the linebacker’s court on what to do next. He’s cleared to begin practice immediately but if he still wants to show his displeasure with the contract, he could chose to “hold-in”
Doing so means that Smith would participate in some off-field activities but refuse to take the field for practice. This has been more common under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which increased fines for players who would have traditional “hold outs” during training camp where they would remain away from team facilities.
Smith is seeking a new deal as his rookie contract is set to expire at the end of the season, paying him $9.735 million for the 2022 campaign. The linebacker doesn’t have an agent and is representing himself in the negotiations with general manager Ryan Poles.
Despite the stalled contract negotiations, he made it clear that his priority is to have Smith return to the Bears on a new deal.
“Right now, my intentions are to sign Roquan to this team,” said Poles during a quick news conference at Soldier Field on Tuesday after the team’s annual Fan Fest training camp practice.