Bears All-Pro Roquan Smith backs off trade demand, lambasts 'distasteful' contract negotiations

Roquan Smith is back at practice. But he's not satisfied.

The Chicago Bears' All-Pro linebacker ended his holdout on Saturday and reported to practice for the first time since requesting a trade on Aug. 9. Smith, who's unhappy with his contract, told reporters he plans to play out the final year of his rookie deal this season and that he's "betting on myself" in anticipation of his next contract.

Also, he finds his failed negotiations with the Bears to have been "distasteful."

"I thought it was very distasteful to say the least," Smith said of contract negotiations wit the Bears. ... "I see myself at a number. They see me at a number. We couldn't agree. We can agree to disagree. I would never accept a bad deal. I would never accept a deal that I don't feel like is what I'm worth.

"I feel like I've busted my ass so long here and not being rewarded with something I thought I rightfully deserved. My number and their number was not the same. I'm moving past it now and I'm focused on the season."

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 13: Roquan Smith #58 of the Chicago Bears looks on prior to the preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Roquan Smith is planning to play out the final year of his contract. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Smith, 25, is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract after joining the Bears as the No. 8 pick in the 2017 draft. He's slated to make $9.7 million on the fifth-year option that the Bears exercised in 2021. Smith was named second-team All-Pro after each of the last two seasons and sought a long-term extension with Chicago. When the two sides failed to reach terms on an agreement, Smith requested a trade. He criticized the new Bears front office led by first-year general manager Ryan Poles.

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"Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn't value me here," Smith wrote in a statement. "They've refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been 'take it or leave it'. The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it."

Terms of the failed negotiations weren't reported. Smith doesn't have an agent and represents himself. He told reporters on Saturday that he's now planning to play out the final year of his deal this season with the Bears in hopes of securing a lucrative long-term deal in the offseason.

"Now, I’m just shifting my focus to the season and more so just focused on being the best teammate I can be to those guys in the locker room," Smith continued. “It’s my last year of my deal, and I’m just going to take it, run with it, bet on myself like I’ve always done, and the negotiations are over right now.

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