As the Chicago Bears prepare for their second preseason game of the year, rookie linebacker Roquan Smith remains away from the team.
The last holdout from the 2018 NFL Draft class, Smith’s absense is rooted in the Bears wanting to limit some guarantees in his contract to protect the team should the former Georgia linebacker be suspended for violating the league’s new tackle rule.
A problem that’s been specific to the Bears, it doesn’t look like this is going away any time soon. According to Dan Bernstein of WSCR 670 in Chicago, the Bears are “dug in” relating to the stalamate and the two sides have not had any recent contact.
"The Bears are very dug in. They believe the precedent (on-field, non-football related fines) is unacceptable." -Dan Bernstein on the Roquan Smith situation, adding there has been zero contact between the two parties
— Dan Bernstein Show (@Bernstein670) August 9, 2018
This certainly doesn’t bode well for Smith’s ability to make an immediate impact as a rookie. Given that the top-10 pick does not have a history of dirty hits, it’s rather alarming that Chicago is attempting to limit his guarantees because of some ridiculous rules the NFL set forth this past offseason.
As Bernstein notes, it doesn’t look like the Bears themselves are going to budge any time soon. We also don’t expect Smith’s camp to give in. If that’s the case, we can expect a protracted stalemate, potentially into the season.