Roquan Smith asked for the Chicago Bears to trade him in August, prior to the start of the 2022 regular season.
Yet, when the Bears sent him to the Baltimore Ravens in exchange for 2023 second- and fifth-round picks months later on October 31, Smith says he was surprised by the move.
“I have officially requested a trade; just writing these words is deeply painful,” Smith wrote in August of 2022. “Unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith added, also noting that Bears general manager Ryan Poles and company “refused to negotiate in good faith.”
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The Bears’ first-year GM says he and Smith just couldn’t find common ground in contract negotiations. “There’s a part of me that’s bummed because this was a guy that I thought was going to be here for a long time,” Poles said on November 1. “I felt like we put a lot of effort forward to get that done. We came up short, we couldn’t find common ground, and that’s just a part of this business, which I think we all understand.”
When Smith spoke to the media for the first time since getting traded to Baltimore, Bears Nation had loads to say about his comments.
Roquan Smith Says He Was ‘Shocked’ Bears Traded Him’
“I didn’t plan to [get traded], but you know, life happens at times and got traded,” Smith said, per ESPN. “So initially I was shocked. But I’m excited to be here. Good group of guys that’s contending for a title, and that’s what I’m in the game to play for — playing for a title.”
Smith also says he’s not worried about getting a contract extension from his new team.
“I’m not really focused on that right now,” Smith said. “Everything’s happened really, really quickly, so I’m just trying to focus on honing in on this playbook right now and getting to that. But my main focus right now is learning the playbook and getting a great relationship with the guys and then going from there.”
When his comments about the Bears trading him made the rounds, fans and analysts alike called Smith out for saying he was “shocked” by it all.
Some brought Smith’s initial trade request up and noted how dire the situation sounded back in August:
Others pointed out the irony of Smith’s comments:
One fan pointed out that Smith, who has adamantly chosen to represent himself, eschewing all agents, may not have been so surprised if he had representation.
While other fans were unimpressed with Smith’s comments enough to say good riddance:
Bears Locker Room Ins’t the Same Without Smith, Bears CB Says
Many may have been baffled by Smith’s comments, but his former teammates in Chicago already miss him.
Bears starting cornerback Jaylon Johnson says the team’s locker room isn’t the same without Smith.
“You come back in the building and you see everybody kind of moving different,” Johnson said about how Smith’s absence has affected the team.
“You don’t hear him in the locker room. You don’t hear him out at walk-throughs. You just kind of really get that feeling that, really, like, I don’t want to say he’s gone. But he’s moved on to a different team. I’ve reached out. I know guys have reached out to him. He’s doing good. He’s in the right spirits. At the end of the day, we all want him to succeed. If it’s a better situation for him, then we’re all rooting for him at the end of the day.”