Roquan Smith requests trade: Bears 'trying to take advantage of me'
Smith said the team's new leadership "doesn't value me" and "has been trying to take advantage of me" since talks began in April. He added that forcing an exit "is deeply painful" as he wanted to play in Chicago for his entire career.
The Bears, who hired general manager Ryan Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus this offseason, offered Smith a backloaded contract that wouldn't have made him the highest-paid linebacker in salary, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The proposed deal also reportedly contained de-escalators that no non-quarterback earning $15-million-plus annually has in their contract.
Indianapolis Colts star Shaquille Leonard currently tops the linebacker market at $19.7 million per year.
Smith, who's in the final year of his rookie contract, is one of the rebuilding Bears' few franchise cornerstones after earning back-to-back All-Pro second-team nominations over the past two seasons.
Pole said he's "disappointed" by Smith's trade request and doesn't want to lose him, according to Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times.
"We have to do what's best for the team … but my intention is to sign Roquan Smith," said the GM.
The linebacker started camp on the physically unable to perform list before being activated Wednesday. He was reportedly planning to report to training camp but not participate in any practices.
The 25-year-old has racked up 524 total tackles, 14 sacks, and five interceptions since the NFC North club selected him at No. 8 in 2018. He produced a career-high 163 tackles last season.
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