Chicago Bears: Is it time to worry about Roquan Smith’s contract situation?

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

With training camp getting started, is there any reason to be concerned with Roquan Smith’s contract status?

The Chicago Bears‘ training camp technically starts on Thursday, July 19th when veterans are due to report. However, rookies reported today, the 16th. Of the seven draft picks, there was one notable omission.

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Roquan Smith, the No. 8 overall pick is still unsigned and will not report to camp until a contract is in place. Unfortunately, holdouts are a part of the NFL as players want that financial security prior to stepping on a field where one injury could jeopardize everything.

From that perspective, you can’t fault any rookie for holding out. With that said, is there any reason to be concerned with Smith’s contract status? The short answer is ‘no.’

No Cause for Concern

First of all, it is not as if Smith is the only rookie who is currently unsigned. According to Spotrac, seven out of the top-ten picks currently do not have contracts.

You also have to remember that the Bears begin training camp one week early this year due to the new coaching staff. Therefore, under normal circumstances, they’d have another week to negotiate before he’d have to report to camp.

Second, rookies’ salaries are essentially predetermined by the NFL’s rookie wage scale. The Bear made Smith the No. 8 pick overall.  As a result, he is projected to earn approximately $18.6 million with an $11.6 million signing bonus.

If salaries and bonuses are predetermined, then you might be asking what in the world they’re haggling over? Typically it comes down to two items. The first is the “offset” language.

In other words, if the Bears terminated Smith’s contract after the fourth year, and he signed with another team, to what extent would his new salary “offset” what the Bears must pay him. Teams obviously don’t want to pay a player’s full salary if another team is also paying him. On the other hand, the player would like to double-dip.

The second hangup usually has to do with the structure of the bonus payout. In other words, how and when the predetermined bonus amount is paid out. Furthermore, you may recall these were the same two issues that led to Joey Bosa‘s holdout. Since this issue is typically easier to work out, if I were to speculate, I’d say this probably comes down to the “offset” language.

Next: 3 rookies who could make noise at training camp

Bottom Line

There is no need to sound the alarm just yet. Smith understands the importance of training camp for rookies. Moreover, he’s a football junky whose whole life centers around football. Consequently, there is no chance he holds out for an extended period of time. Again, under normal circumstances, both sides would have another week to work things out. I fully expect both sides to hammer out a deal by then. Then we can all get back to enjoying watching Smith do what he does best.