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#pounditSunday, September 24, 2023

Bears defensive star publicly requests trade

One of the Chicago Bears’ best players wants a fresh start elsewhere.

All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith issued a lengthy statement on Tuesday revealing that he has asked the Bears to trade him. The former No. 8 overall pick is in the final year of his rookie contract. He says the Bears have not negotiated with him in good faith and have only taken a “take it or leave it” stance.

The Bears hired a new general manager, Ryan Poles, at the start of the offseason. Smith said he feels the new front office regime “doesn’t value me here.” He did, however, leave open the possibility of Bears ownership stepping in to “salvage this.” You can read the full statement below:

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media shared some details of the contract offer the Bears supposedly made to Smith. The team reportedly wanted to include de-escalators in the contract, which is something that no other non-quarterback player making $15 million or more per year has in his deal.

Smith is set to make $9.7 million this season after the Bears picked up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. He had 163 tackles and three sacks last season and was named a Second-Team All-Pro in 2020 and 2021. He wants to be paid accordingly and has been holding out from training camp.

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