Roquan Smith has a history of fighting against unfair contracts — since high school

·3 min read

Former Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith has requested to be traded from the Chicago Bears, the team that drafted him eighth overall in the 2018 NFL draft, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Smith (25) is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and has been in contract negotiations with the front office that have reached an impasse. Smith has been on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list since the start of training camp.

Smith wrote a statement in which he made public his desire to be traded. The statement was posted to social media by Rapoport on Tuesday.

The two sides have been attempting to work on an extension since April, but Smith feels that the offer he received is not only bad for himself, but for the linebacker market as a whole.

Smith reiterated that he wanted to finish his career in Chicago, “but the new front office regime doesn’t value me here.”

“They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith,” Smith wrote. “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.”

But for Smith, this is not the first time he has stood up to a front office, or college football program that he feels was trying to take advantage of him.

2018 rookie hold out:

Prior to his rookie season in 2018, Smith held out due to contract negotiations. Those disagreements stemmed from a then-new league policy that would subject defenders to ejection/suspension if they initiate contact with their helmet, a very common tackling technique.

The real issue generated around contract language transcribed by the Bears that cunningly stated that Chicago reserves the right to void any guaranteed money to Smith if he were to miss playing time as a result of this new rule.

Although the Bears finally came around and changed the terms, to Smith, and rightfully so, this showed a clear lack of support for him by his new organization. Rather than standing by Smith if this new rule were to come into play, the team was instead telling him they will take away his money if he is ejected or suspended by it.

UGA/UCLA/National Signing Day:

Dec 2, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Roquan Smith (3) is awarded MVP after defeating the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since his days at Macon County High, Smith has taken the unconventional route in continuing his football career at the next level.

It started with his National Signing Day announcement that saw him don UCLA gloves, signifying a commitment to the Bruins over the home-state Bulldogs in 2015. Only there was one problem, for UCLA.

Shortly after committing to the Bruins, he was informed of the news that UCLA’s defensive coordinator had bolted for the Atlanta Falcons. Smith shortly changed his mind about that decision – making national headlines – and cautiously took his time before eventually choosing Georgia a week later.

But when finally choosing to play for UGA, Smith – showing his smarts here – chose to sign a financial aid agreement rather than a letter of intent. By doing so, he protected himself from being tied to a university if Georgia had any unexpected coaching changes prior to his enrollment. If Smith wanted to change schools yet again, this allowed him to do so.

In doing this, Smith proved to America that he not only was a bright kid, but one who knew how to protect himself and his future, not allowing big businesses (like Georgia and now the NFL) to control him.

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Story originally appeared on UGA Wire