Chicago Bears: What did the team learn from Roquan Smith holdout?

(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears have finally signed Roquan Smith, and there are lessons that must be learned.

With Roquan Smith ending his holdout and finally putting pen to paper, the Chicago Bears have their top overall pick signed. The team is the last to sign their first-round pick and Smith has now missed two preseason games.

For the Bears, this must be a strong lesson for the future: give your players what they want.

Smith is way behind other rookies now, although hopefully, he will be ready for the opening weekend of the season. Bears fans have spent all offseason imagining Smith taking down Aaron Rodgers on opening night, and that chance may still come.

But this look is really bad and sets an awful precedent.

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  • I immediately am reminded of the Los Angeles Chargers situation with Joey Bosa.

    The Chargers are an organization known for not treating players well. It’s why Eli Manning refused to play for the team in 2004.

    When Bosa came out of Ohio State in 2016, he was caught up immediately in a contract dispute, just like Smith. Bosa had one more reason to hold out.

    Beyond the issue in signing bonuses, where the team wanted to split up the signing bonus, Bosa also had the issue of offset language.

    Smith wanted to protect himself financially in the case of suspension due to new league rules.

    The Bears would have had the right to garnish his guaranteed wages if he had been suspended. Now only a suspension over three games will allow the team to fine him.

    The Chargers have rubbed many players the wrong way over the years. Eric Weddle described the organization as ‘dead to him’ after contract disputes.

    While there isn’t a full-on track record in Chicago, the Bears have had ugly instances in the past.

    Newly-inducted Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher is the most notable. He wanted a two-year, $11 million deal. The Bears countered at one-year, $2 million. Urlacher decided to retire instead of play for a contract he was insulted by.

    Ultimately, for a team still rebuilding, the biggest issue is Smith’s time away. Every rep is important for the rookie, and now the question is whether or not he will play opening night.

    The fact this is even a question is sad and should have never gotten to this point.

    For the Bears, the resolution is simple. In the future, you have to value reps and practice time for elite rookies over issues with money. With salaries set, making players feel happy has to be a major point of emphasis.

    light. Must Read. Predictions for Smith's rookie season

    For the Bears, guaranteeing money up-front would have gotten Smith on the field earlier.

    Giving him the money from the beginning would have improved his morale, and could even lead to him taking a ‘home-town discount’ when re-negotiations come up.

    It’s a win-win for the Bears to get their rookies in camp, and happy, as soon as possible. Smith’s dispute took way too long and was petty.

    It’s up to the team and front office to not allow this situation to happen again and let players know Chicago is an organization designed to protect its players.