Chicago Bears: Was drafting Roquan Smith a mistake?

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

The preseason is rapidly approaching and Roquan Smith continues to hold out of training camp. Were we all given a bad scouting report of the kind of player he is?

When the Chicago Bears drafted Roquan Smith, we thought we were getting the next great Bears’ linebacker like Brian Urlacher, Mike Singletary, and Dick Butkus. Smith was asked about that on draft night and said,

"It’s tremendous history, way back with Dick Butkus, Lance Briggs, Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher all of those guys. Just following in line with that rich tradition. It’s surreal and I’m just grateful to be a part of it."

Well, it turns out that we were all fools. At least I am, I made the mistake of buying his jersey shortly after the draft. Anyways, it’s a dishonor and an insult to the aforementioned Bears’ linebackers to even mention Smith in the same sentence with them. Smith is the only drafted rookie to still be unsigned. This is because CAA, Smith’s agency, wanted Smith to get a clause in his contract where if he were suspended for illegal hits in games, Smith wouldn’t lose any guaranteed money.

Roquan Smith Chicago Bears
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Pace did what he had to do and gave Smith that clause. Then, CAA demanded that Smith also have a clause in his contract stating that the Bears can not take any guaranteed money from him if he is disciplined for behavior outside of a normal football play. For example, this could mean flipping off the crowd or shoving a referee.

What do we not know about Smith? We were told that he was a tremendous leader at the University of Georgia. Is Smith a player that would do those types of things? If he’s not then Smith needs to tell CAA that he will not sit by and watch CAA use him to set a precedent for future clients. Smith is being used as a pawn and he is just sitting by allowing it to happen.

Related Story. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith needs to step up. light

Smith needs to tell his agent that it’s time to join his teammates, get used to the defensive system and help the Bears win football games. Urlacher said at his hall of fame speech,

"Today is not merely about me or what I did on the football field. I’m here primarily tonight to pay respect to the men and women who made this all possible and to honor them for the impact they’ve had on my life. I love everything about football: the friendships, the coaches, the teammates, the teachers, the challenges and the opportunity to excel as a teammate and as a leader."

Smith will never be the leader and teammate that Urlacher was. Urlacher was also asked what he thought about the Smith situation,

"“I can’t speak for other people, but I told my agent that I will not miss camp. I’ll be in there. Even if we sign the day before, I will not miss camp at all.“"

That is a hall-of-fame player and teammate that understood what it meant to put on that Bears uniform. He knew he needed to be there for his fellow players. Urlacher knew how paramount it was to know the playbook, feeding off of how his fellow teammates played, roles for other players on the defense, and the cadences of offenses of opponents. Smith gets little to none of that if he’s holding out.

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It’s up to Smith to end his teammate. His agency is not going to cave, and Pace is not going to give in either. Smith needs to realize that the contract being offered to him is fine the way it is and to get in there and practice. Until Smith stops being a follower and decides to become a leader, then this holdout is not going to end any time soon and the draft selection of him has turned out to be a massive mistake. Say what you will about Kevin White, but at least he shows up to training camp.