Bears’ starting linebacker, Roquan Smith, wants out of Chicago and has requested a trade.
Smith’s trade request comes after the franchise “refused to negotiate in good faith” during contract negotiations, according to his personal statement that was posted to Twitter by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The All-Pro also believes the organization doesn’t “value” him and 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.”
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Cordarrelle Patterson Quick to Recruit Smith to Atlanta
“Roquan smith is the tweet!!!!,” Patterson wrote.
But Patterson didn’t stop there.
He also changed his Twitter profile picture to a throwback photo Smith when he played the UGA.
Since going eighth overall to the Bears in the 2018 NFL Draft, Smith has logged 14 sacks, at least 101 tackles and an interception in each season he’s played in Chicago. He is also one of only six players in NFL history to record 500 or more tackles, 10-plus sacks, and five or more interceptions during his first four seasons in the league.
Smith is on the last leg of his rookie contract and is on tap to earn $9.7 million this fall.
The Falcons’ Chicago Bears Connection Runs Deep
Atlanta has now signed over half a dozen of former Bears players this offseason––which isn’t so far-fetched sense since the team added a number of Bears to their coaching staff and front office, including former Bears’ general manager Ryan Pace.
The team hired Pace in February to serve as a senior personnel executive, who is no stranger to the Falcons’ front office after working with general manager Terry Fontenot in New Orleans for 13 seasons. However, after 15 total years with the Saints, Pace left to take the Bears GM job in 2015, where he was until he was fired at the conclusion of the 2021 season.
Chicago decided to move on from Pace after seven seasons, a 48-65 overall record and failing to log a playoff win. During his seven-year regime, the Bears made it to the playoffs twice, but never made it past the first round. Their first post-season birth under Pace came in 2018 when they went 12-4 but then they were eliminated in the wild-card round. Two years later, they made it to the playoffs after an 8-8 season in 2020, but again, were eliminated in the wild-card round. Last fall, they finished with a 6-11 record, resulting in Pace’s firing.
Pace now works in the Falcons front office and is joined by some other former Bears coaches in Atlanta, including offensive coordinator Dave Ragone, quarterbacks coach Charles London, running backs coach Michael Pitre and outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino. And last, but not least, ex-Bears general manager Phil Emery, whom Pace replaced in Chicago and is now working as a senior personnel executive under Fontenot as well.
All that being said, with Patterson’s recruitment and their connection to Chicago, the Falcons may just have an edge of landing Smith if they make a run for him.