LAKE FOREST – One of the players that Bears fans most expect to have a productive year may not be on the field with the team as they start preseason workouts this week.
Per a report from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, middle linebacker Roquan Smith will not be participating in training camp because he “has not yet received an offer he would remotely consider” for a new contract. The Bears veteran players will report to Halas Hall Tuesday.
Smith is entering the final year of his rookie contract that included the Bears picking up his fifth-year option for 2022. He’s set to earn $9.735 million for this upcoming season, per Spotrac.
This is not the first time that Smith and the Bears have had contract trouble during the preseason. Before his rookie year in 2018 after the team took him eighth overall in the draft, the linebacker held out until after the Bourbonnais portion of training camp came to an end before finally signing his first deal.
Over the course of his first four seasons in the NFL, Smith has developed into one of the best young linebackers in the game. He’s a two-time second team All-Pro selection and has led the team in tackles each year in Chicago, totaling a career-high 163 in 2021.
Smith has accumulated 43 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 17 quarterback hits, and five interceptions in 61 career games.
He would be the second player to hold out ahead of training camp so far as rookie safety Jaquan Brisker has yet to appear in workouts at Halas Hall as negotiations continue on his rookie contract. The first-year players reported to team headquarters to start workouts on Saturday.
Some also question if Robert Quinn will do the same after he didn’t show up for the mandatory mini-camp back in June.