Did Bears GM slight Roquan Smith?
Roquan Smith is involved in a dispute with the Chicago Bears, and comments from the team’s general manager might not help matters.
The Bears played the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night in a preseason game that was broadcast by ESPN. During the third quarter, ESPN announcer Steve Levy shared some interesting comments Bears GM Ryan Poles made to him during an interview ahead of the game. Poles’ comments had to do with Smith.
“Some of the language Poles used was interesting,” Levy noted. “[Poles] said, ‘hey, he’s a very good linebacker.’ Like, that’s some code there. That’s not ‘excellent.’ That’s not ‘the best linebacker in the league.’ That’s not being paid like the best linebacker in the league.”
ESPN’s other analysts in the game, Dan Orlovsky and Louis Riddick, suggested that Poles feels that inside linebacker isn’t a priority position. The implication is that Poles feels he can’t lock up too much money on an inside linebacker while trying to build a successful team amid salary cap constraints.
Smith had 163 tackles and three sacks in 17 games last season. The 25-year-old is set to earn $9.7 million in his final season under team control. He has requested a trade.
Poles is in his first season as the Bears’ general manager. The team went 6-11 last season and has a new head coach for 2022 in Matt Eberflus.