Roquan Smith has requested a trade from the Chicago Bears, stating he’s unhappy with negotiations and that the team’s focus “has been on trying to take advantage of me.”
NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport was the first to tweet the news on Tuesday morning and it came with a lengthy statement from the 25-year-old linebacker.
“I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city,” Smith wrote. “However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table.”
“I haven’t had the chance to talk to the McCaskey family and maybe they can salvage this, but as of right now I don’t see a path back to the organization that I truly love.”
Smith is playing on the final year of his rookie deal after being drafted out of Georgia with the eighth pick of the 2018 draft. He has not participated in this year’s training camp and has been on the physically unable to perform list since starting his hold out.
Smith does not have an agent and represents himself.
Tuesday was supposed to be a fun day for the Bears organization as Family Fest is being held at Soldier Field. Instead, the headlines will be dominated by one of the team’s cornerstones making a shocking trade request just over a month from the start of the season.
It’s fair to say that this might just be a negotiating tactic from Smith. He’s not a stranger from arguing with the Bears as Smith staged another lengthy holdout his rookie year to get this current contract from the Bears.
But requesting a trade is also on the nuclear level of options. Assuming that both sides are as far apart as Smith suggests, it doesn’t reflect well on GM Ryan Poles. Smith is one of the most popular players in Chicago and has produced at a level that suggests he should be the cornerstone of the latest rebuilding project.
We’ll see where it goes from here and there’s plenty of drama still to play out. Right now, though, it’s another L for the early days of Poles regime. From the failed physical of top free agent target Larry Ogunjobi to several off-the-field incidents, not much has gone right for the first-year GM.
Stay tuned to CHGO for more, including our CHGO Bears podcast at 2 p.m. with more reactions from the team. Watch it live on YouTube.