Former Bears LB Roquan Smith signs 5-year extension with Ravens

Former Bears linebacker Roquan Smith signed a contract extension with the Ravens on Tuesday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

It’s a five-year deal worth $100 million, making Smith the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in the NFL. The deal includes $45 million guaranteed and $60 million in total guarantees.

Chicago traded Smith to Baltimore ahead of the trade deadline in exchange for the Ravens’ 2023 second- and fifth-round picks, along with linebacker AJ Klein, who is no longer with the team.

Smith’s $100 million deal is part of the reason why GM Ryan Poles traded the star linebacker, as the two sides couldn’t find common ground on an extension. Smith wanted to set a new market for linebackers, and Poles wasn’t going to pay him that.

Last summer, Smith’s holdout from the Bears — due to contract negotiations — dominated the headlines. At one point, Smith requested a trade. Eventually, both sides shelved talks for the season, focusing on 2022.

But Poles, realizing they would never find common ground, decided to trade him. Smith was due to hit free agency in 2023, and Poles, knowing Smith wouldn’t be back, was able to land two draft picks.

Since joining the Ravens, Smith has been a key piece of their defense. He’s totaled 86 tackles, seven tackles for loss, one interception, 2.0 sacks and three pass breakups in nine games.

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire